I have been renting at the same address in Dublin since 2014. In that time, my rent has increased twice, and is due to increase in December again. Further to this, my landlord, the great parasite REIT know as IRES, has illegally attempted to put up the rent on two other occasions. When I called them out on this (and reported them to the RTB and the PRSA), they claimed on both occasions that it had been ‘a mistake in the system’. I am certain that this ‘mistake’ has been made at many of their thousands of properties. And because most people don’t seem to know their rights, the tenants end up agreeing to an illegal rent increase.
REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) actually did not exist in Ireland before 2013. Legislation was then passed by the Fine Gael and Labour government to allow them to operate here, tax free of course. In that short space of time, the particular one I rent from has become the biggest landlord in Ireland. Only last week they made the headlines again after attempting to increase the rent by 25% in one apartment building, citing a loophole in the (loose) law controlling rents. Concerted action by the residents of that complex has prevented this, showing that by banding together people can get results. Don’t doubt however, that IRES and other unscrupulous landlords will continue to try to shadily rob their tenants by whatever means they can conjure.
So having recently received notice of my latest rent increase, I mulled it over and decided I have nothing to lose by contacting them and asking them to reconsider. I really don’t expect them to relent, but I want them to admit in writing that they are involved in rampant profiteering off a societal crisis. With that in mind, below is the mail I have sent them.
I will let you, dear readers, know what transpires.
To whom it concerns,
I am writing with reference to your correspondence dating August 31st 2018, with regard to the rent review on [address redacted]. While I appreciate that the increase does adhere to the apposite formula contained in the Residential Tenancies Act, I would nonetheless like to enquire as to why your organisation requires us to pay more rent at this juncture.
I have been living here for over four years now, and have already paid the equivalent of a sizeable mortgage deposit in rent to your company. Of course REITs and other landlords have priced me out of such a mortgage, so you can understand my dilemma, and my frustration that you are now asking that I pay even more. Surely you must be the only business model that rewards its long-term customers by consistently charging them more for the exact same service. I am now being asked to pay 19% more than I did when I moved in. Would that my salary were to increase at the same rate, but alas this is not to be.
Seeing as the country is currently in the throes of the worst housing and homelessness crises in its history, I wondered whether your organisation has ever considered holding off on rent increases until these issues are solved. I am sure that the €65.1million profit you posted in 2017 alone, a 38% increase on 2016, should be able to tide you over for a considerable period of time.
I look forward to your considered response.