Nineteen new locations have been designated as Rent Pressure Zones following a change in the criteria.
The announcement of the additional RPZs takes effect from today, following reforms to the Residential Tenancies Act.
The areas are located across 11 counties and include all of Meath and Louth, as well as Limerick’s metropolitan area.
The new areas are:
- Meath: Kells, Trim
- Louth: Ardee, Dundalk South, Dundalk – Carlingford
- Wicklow: Arklow
- Galway: Athenry/Oranmore, Gort/Kinvara
- Wexford: Gorey
- Cork: Midleton, Fermoy
- Laois: Portlaoise, Graiguecullen/Portarlington
- Waterford: Waterford City East, Waterford City South
- Westmeath: Athlone
- Limerick: Limerick City West, Limerick City North
It means rent increases are limited to a maximum of 4% each year, with around two-thirds of renters now covered by RPZs.
The data shows that between the start of January and the end of March, the average rent stood at €1,169 per month.
The move comes as new figures from the Residential Tenancies Board show that nationally rents were over 8% higher during the first three months of the year, compared with the same time in 2018.
The figure represents an increase of €90 or 8.3% on the same period a year earlier.
When compared with the previous quarter, rents rose by 2.1%, reversing the fall recorded between the start of October and the end of December.
It was also the highest rate of annual price inflation in the rental market since the second quarter of 2016.
The RTB has said there was “continued growth in rental inflation and affordability issues in the sector”.
The report shows the average rent for new tenancies is €1,245 per month, compared to €984 for renewed tenancies.
The highest average rent is in Dublin at €1,662, while Leitrim is the county with the lowest average rent at €537.
Meanwhile, rents in Waterford city recorded the biggest annual increase between January and March, up by 13.7% to €826, compared to the same time the previous year.
The Residential Tenancies Board has also been given new powers to address improper conduct by landlords under the Residential Tenancies Act.
The RTB can now directly investigate and sanction in cases where there are specific breaches of Residential Tenancy Law in relation to Rent Pressure Zones, false or misleading notices of termination and the non-registration of a tenancy.
Anyone found in breach of the legislation could face sanctions that range from a warning to a fine of up to €15,000.
The new legislation also requires that all notices of termination where the tenancy has been ended are required to be notified and copied to the RTB within 28 days of the tenancy ending.