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RTB publishes guidelines for good practice on the "Substantial Change" exemption in Rent Pressure Zones

Nov 23, 2017

RTB ANNOUNCE NEW ONE-STOP-SHOP WEBSITE, NEW WEBCHAT FACILITY AND EXTENDS ITS OPENING HOURS

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has published a comprehensive set of guidelines for landlords and tenants, and those working in the rental sector, on what constitutes “substantial change” in rented properties for the purposes of exemptions from rent pressure zone measures. A “substantial change” in the nature of accommodation provided by a landlord can be the basis for the landlord claiming exemption from the rent increase restriction of 4% per year that applies in Rent Pressure Zones. The full guidance note can be downloaded here. The RTB have also published a quick reference leaflet here

“This guide is intended to support landlords and tenants in understanding what a substantial change in the nature of accommodation is, and in what type of circumstances an exemption can be relied upon. This is an issue that both landlords and tenants have asked for further guidance on, and it is an important document in terms of informing those in the sector on the issue and in improving compliance ”, according to the Director of the RTB, Ms. Rosalind Carroll.

“The key point for people to understand is that for the exemption to apply, there needs to be a substantial change in the nature of the accommodation being provided, so it is not just about improving a property but about significant changes;  for example, has the property been extended”, she said.

There are 5 key guiding principles provided which landlords or tenants should consider when thinking about the use of the Substantial Change exemption:

  1. Has the property changed?
  2. Are the works more than works undertaken to merely bring the property up to minimum standards?
  3. Are the works part of the normal on-going maintenance and repairs expected of a landlord, or do they go beyond this?
  4. Is there evidence of a change in the letting value of the property due to the change, rather than due to market inflation?
  5. Are the changes and works substantial, how much has been spent, how long did the works take?

“It is important that landlords, tenants, and anyone working in the sector, familiarise themselves with the guidelines and where major disagreements arise, we would encourage those affected to refer such disputes to the RTB,” Ms. Carroll points out.

It is important to note that while the new RTB guidelines are focused, in particular, on Rent Pressure Zones, there are also requirements in the law in relation to rent reviews in private rented dwellings outside of Rent Pressure Zone areas.

Guidance is also provided on what constitutes “substantial refurbishment” for the purposes of using it as a ground for termination of a tenancy.

 The RTB also announced the launch of a One Stop Shop which is a range of new resources for RTB customers aimed to making it easier to access information and understand one’s rights and obligations as either a landlord or tenant. It includes a new user friendly website with forms, tools and templates; a webchat facility on the site, and the extension of the RTB call-opening hours from 8.30am to 6.30pm.

“Our priority is to improve access to information on rights and responsibilities and the services offered by the RTB. The announcements today are part of our ongoing commitment to improve and develop how our customers and potential customers interact with us”, said Ms Carroll.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

Residential Tenancies Board: About Us

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is a public body set up to support and developing a well-functioning rental housing sector. We provide high quality information on the sector, resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, and maintain a national register of tenancies.

What we do

Information, research and education

We provide high-quality information to tenants and landlords, as well as to the general public, on their rights and responsibilities, in terms of both living and providing accommodation in the rental sector. We also provide accurate and authoritative data on the rental sector, such as the Rent Index, which allows us to monitor trends in the rental sector, but also allows individuals to check and compare rents in particular locations.

Registrations

All private residential landlords and Approved Housing Bodies (not for profit housing providers, often referred to as AHBS or Housing Associations) are obliged to register their tenancies. At the end of 2016, there were 325,000 tenancies registered with the RTB. A public register of tenancies is available on our website. The registration of tenancies enables us to collect important data on the sector, but is also a key part of regulating and supporting the sector and ensuring landlords and tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Dispute resolution

Since 2004, the RTB have replaced the courts in dealing with the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants through our Dispute Resolution Service. This service offers a choice of resolution types to parties – mediation or adjudication.

For more information on the Residential Tenancies Board, please visit www.rtb.ie.

 

RENT PRESSURE ZONES

Under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, parts of the country where rents are highest, and rising, can be designated as Rent Pressure Zones (“RPZ”), and private rents are capped at a maximum increase of 4% annually.

The current RPZs include the four Dublin Local Authorities (Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council), and Cork City Council. The others are Cobh, Maynooth, Ballincollig – Carrigaline, Galway City Central, Galway City East, Galway City West, Celbridge – Leixlip, Naas, Kildare – Newbridge, Ashbourne, Laytown – Bettystown, Rathoath, Bray, Wicklow Town, Greystones and Drogheda.  

Full story

Information Seminar for Approved Housing Bodies

Nov 10, 2017

The Residential Tenancies Board would like to invite all AHB stakeholders to an information seminar. The purpose of the seminar is to provide information to those involved and working in the sector on the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2016 as it applies to AHBs, the dispute resolution services of the RTB and case outcomes.

 

Time: 9:30am to 1pm

Date: Thursday, 7th December 2017

Venue: Hilton Hotel, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

Registration: Please register by emailing rsvp@rtb.ie with your name, address, organisation and telephone number

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INVITATION TO TENANTS, AGENTS AND REPRESENTATIVES!

Sep 25, 2017

Information Seminar on the Residential Tenancies Acts.

 

The Residential Tenancies Board is pleased to invite stakeholders including, Tenants, third parties agents and representatives to an information seminar on Landlord and Tenant Law and recent changes introduced by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2016, including rent pressure zones. The purpose of the seminar is to raise awareness and educate those involved and working in the rental sector of the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords.

 

Date: Thursday 5th October 2017

Time: 12pm - 2pm

Location: The Gibson Hotel, Point Square, North Dock, Dublin 1

Registration: Please register by emailing RSVP@rtb.ie with your name, address and telephone number. 

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Minister Eoghan Murphy’s address at the publication of the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rent Index for the Second Quarter of 2017 and Further Rental Sector Measures

Sep 25, 2017

Tuesday, 19th September 2017

National Ploughing Championships, Tullamore

Welcome

  • Thank you very much for taking the time to join me this afternoon for the launch of the Residential Tenancies Board’s Rent Index for the Second Quarter of 2017.  
  • I’d also like to thank the RTB for their continued work, both in the context of their comprehensive analysis that enables this Index to be produced, as well as their wider ongoing role in safeguarding the rights of both tenants and landlords.
  • I’d also like to acknowledge the interest and input from a range of stakeholders and sectors, who have contributed practical suggestions and advice, and I’d particularly like to recognise the important work and advice from Ministers and Government colleagues from the Independent Alliance who have been very active in this policy area.  
  • In walking you through the main analysis of this quarter’s results, I will also use this as an opportunity to update you on just a couple of policy changes that I can announce today insofar as our rolling analysis of Rebuilding Ireland is concerned.

Q2 Rent Index

  • It is crucial that policy decisions we make are based on and supported by the best available evidence where possible.  
  • This is why this index is so important – designed with the help of the ESRI, it is calculated on actual rents reported to the RTB for tenancies registered during the specific quarter, as distinct from the asking rents which feature in other rent reports.  
  • Data from over 19,000 rents reported to the RTB during the three months, April to June, were used to calculate these results. No other report on rents is based on so large a dataset.
  • The RTB’s Quarter 2 Rent Index is the second index looking at the period since the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) measure was introduced, and so provides some useful initial data to assess the effectiveness of the measure.
  • Data for Q2 2017 shows that:
  • private rents rose by just over 6.5% across the country in the 12 months to June 2017.
  • There is still some volatility in rental trends from quarter to quarter – for example, while rent price growth was relatively flat in Q1 2017 (at 0.04%), rent increases of close to 3% were recorded between April and June.  
  • Rents in Dublin increased by 3.3% in Quarter 2, compared to a decrease of 1.7% recorded in the first three months of the year.
  • So, what do these latest statistics tell us?
  • Firstly, rents in Dublin have risen by just over 1.5% in the six months since Dublin was designated a Rent Pressure Zone. If this trend is repeated over the next six months, the annual rent inflation in Dublin in 2017 will be around 3%, a significant improvement over the 8.5% increase registered in 2016.
  • Secondly, outside Dublin, rents for both houses and apartments have grown by 4.4% in the first six months of the year, which points to annual growth rates of around 8%.
  • While these figures provide some signal that the RPZs are having an effect in moderating rent increases, it’s not yet clear whether these measures are fully achieving their desired effect.  
  • Nor can we be complacent, with rents in Dublin now standing almost 11% above the previous peak in 2007.  Outside the capital, rents are 7% below their 2007 peak, but this gap is closing.
  • Anecdotal evidence, which seems to be borne out by some of the data returns, is that the RPZ legislation is not being complied with by some landlords, who are looking to get around the increase limits imposed, for example, by using the refurbishment exemption to charge higher rents or reset the market rent.
  • We believe that actions the above may be leading to a higher presentation rate of families in to our emergency accommodation services.
  • However, there also seem to be some tenants who are equally willing to pay over the legal rents permitted in order to secure properties in a supply-constrained market.
  • Measures like the RPZs take time to bed down.  It takes time for people to understand them and for the changes in behaviour that they induce to become clear.
  • This is after all a significant policy change for the rental market. It’s only right, with such a change, that we keep it under review – as we have been, to understand the practical changes that RPZs may have had on the market, intended or otherwise.
  • It’s also necessary, as we seek to make further modifications, that these changes are thought through fully – we don’t want to do something that may have a negative impact on the market, to the detriment of renters and landlords alike.

New RPZ Areas

  • As per my previous commitment to announce changes to policy as decisions are made, I am today announcing what I believe will be important improvements to the rental market.
  • First of all, I am pleased to be able to take action to designate two new areas that now meet the qualifying criteria to be designated as RPZs – these are Drogheda and Greystones.
  • Both have witnessed exceptional rent increases in four of the six quarters previous to Q2 of this year. Both areas also have an average rent that is above the national average.
  • I signed the Designation Orders yesterday to give effect to this, so the RPZ status takes effect from midnight tonight.

Definition of Substantial Refurbishment

  • We know that there has been some concern about landlords using the “substantial refurbishment” exemption to step around the RPZ legislation and to use minor, cosmetic works to change a tenancy or seek a rent increase outside of the 4% cap.
  • We also know that landlords have sought guidance on interpretation of the measure so as to ensure their compliance with this new law.
  • I am instructing my Department and the RTB to formulate a definition of what constitutes “Substantial Refurbishment” of a dwelling that will issue from the RTB as guidance.  This clarification will be communicated to landlords in the coming weeks by the RTB as part of their wider awareness campaigns on the RPZ measures.  I expect this definition to be approved by the RTB Board and published by the end of the month.  
  • This clarification guidance may ultimately benefit from being put on a statutory footing and I am examining whether this can be incorporated into an existing Bill progressing through the Oireachtas or if stand-alone legislation is required.

 

  • By way of an example as to what the RTB’s guidance might look like:

 

– “Substantial refurbishment” should involve major renovation works, such as rewiring, extensions, increasing the number of bedrooms or substantially reducing energy usage through insulation or new windows and doors, which clearly improve the quality of the accommodation being offered, to the extent that would merit an increased rent.  It’s not envisaged that this would include merely cosmetic improvement works like re-painting of a property or new carpets/flooring.

 

  • This clarification will allow landlords to be more certain that a rent agreed on the basis of a refurbishment exemption will not be challenged.  It will also allow tenants to assess whether an exemption being claimed by a landlord is merited.

Short-Term Lettings

  • The rise of the sharing economy has led to a growth in the availability of short-term lettings for tourism purposes, with a corresponding need for an increased supply of rental properties in those same areas.
  • This is particularly the case where high housing demand coincides with high tourist potential – such as in Dublin and Cork.
  • It seems clear to me that a new licensing system may be needed to properly regulate this relatively new “home-sharing” market. A cross-Government working group including, amongst others, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and Fáilte Ireland as well as my own officials, is working to design and establish an appropriate licensing and regulatory system for short-term lettings. 
  • This will take more time to develop. In the meantime, I have instructed my Department to prepare specific guidance and advice for local authorities, which should issue in the coming weeks, to inform their decision-making on planning applications related to short-term lettings.
  • Just to be clear, I think that home-sharing – renting a room in your house for overnight guests or letting your whole home while you are on holidays – is a good idea.  This can be an important source of income, helping “home-sharers” meet the costs of mortgages, rents or other household expenses – and actually supporting tenure security.  It also supports tourism and associated economic activity and even social and cultural exchange.
  • But home sharing needs to mean actually home sharing.
  • When landlords who normally provide residential rental accommodation turn to short-term lettings or when investors purchase residential units for the same purpose, these homes are lost to the housing system, and can exacerbate the already tight supply of properties for normal renting.

A Proper Regulator for the Rental Sector

  • The RTB is doing an outstanding job. But they believe, and I agree, that they can do more – that they need to do more.
  • The RTB needs to be given the powers and the resources to take on a regulatory responsibility in the rental sector.
  • Because of the scale of such a task, this can’t happen overnight, but we are now exploring the changes needed in legislation and in the Board’s financing arrangements. Together, we will put together a two-year change management plan, essentially beginning now, that will progressively see the RTB become the sector’s regulator over the next year or two.
  • What exactly will this look like?

– We’ll make it an offence to implement rent increases that contravene the law and the RTB will be given the powers to investigate and prosecute landlords who implement such increases. The onus will no longer be exclusively on the tenant.

 

– The RTB will move towards annual registration, rather than one-off registration when a tenancy is registered; this will enable the RTB to move eventually to a self-financing model where their income can fund their regulatory and advisory services.

– This will also improve the Board’s data capturing abilities, which is key to understanding trends and behaviours in the rental market, and informing future policy decisions.

– The RTB will undertake detailed analysis of the rent data they gather to provide benchmark rents for different property types.  Given the varying market conditions across the country, this will be a challenging undertaking, but one that I know the RTB is ready to take on.

– Enhanced data will also allow us to deal with the problem of those currently charging abnormally low rents and who have been caught by the RPZ laws. I want to legislate to allow landlords in these circumstances an increase that is greater than the 4% standard rent increase and that takes into account the level of rent they are currently charging.  

– A Deposit Protection Scheme will be established, operated by the Residential Tenancies Board, to handle deposits and to manage disputes efficiently so that decisions are delivered and money is returned quickly. Under this new scheme, the RTB will be able to define a deposit at one month’s rent.

  • This is not an exhaustive list of the changes needed, but an indicative one, and priorities for legislation will be determined as part of the change management plan.
  • We won’t be waiting until 2019 for the RTB to take on these enhanced roles – rather, additional powers and functions will be rolled out in the intervening period according to priority.

Homelessness and Prevention

  • At the Housing and Homelessness Summit earlier this month, I announced a number of targeted measures aimed at sustaining tenancies, so that people facing difficulties in their tenancies do not end up in homelessness.  These include:
    • The requirement that landlords notify the RTB when they issue a notice of termination;
    • An awareness campaign informing people of the services available to them, including the Tenancy Protection Service; and
    • The strengthening and national roll-out of the HAP Place-Finder Service to help HAP recipients to find tenancies and support homeless households by paying their deposit and first month’s rent.

 

  • In addition, the reforms to the Mortgage to Rent scheme, which I will be announcing in the next fortnight, will help keep people, who cannot afford their mortgage payments, and who are eligible for social housing, out of homelessness by allowing them to remain in their homes as tenants.
  • I am also very conscious of the precarious position that some tenants are finding themselves in where their landlord’s property is taken over by a receiver.  Unfortunately, this is the case for many small-scale and “accidental” landlords who bought their rental properties with mortgages, that are now in significant arrears.  In these circumstances, the financial institutions holding these non-performing mortgages may look to appoint receivers to the rented properties and institute proceedings to take possession, with the intention of selling the property, particularly in the current property market where prices are rising.
  • Under current legislation, a receiver appointed to the rental property is not regarded as a landlord and is therefore not required to fulfil the landlord’s obligations under the legislation, which can leave the tenant in a very difficult and vulnerable position, especially where normal rent setting procedures or the notice period to vacate a property are not respected.
  • A working group, established by my Department to examine the feasibility of amending legislation to ensure that tenants’ rights are protected during receivership, considers that there is a sound legal basis for addressing this anomaly through amending legislation.  
  • I have therefore asked the group to submit their report to me as quickly as possible with specific recommendations on the legislative amendments required to ensure that tenants’ rights under the Residential Tenancies Act are maintained when buy-to-let properties are taken into receivership.  I will act quickly to bring in these protections.

Landlord specific measures

  • I will be announcing further measures over the coming weeks that will have a positive supply impact on the rental sector.
  • These will include actions on getting more vacant properties back into use, especially in our cities and town centres where there is strong demand for rental accommodation.  I am also devising a range of measures to increase the supply of new homes to rent at more affordable levels, particularly for working families on moderate incomes.
  • In addition, I have been working with Minister Donohoe to review the tax and fiscal treatment of rental accommodation providers with a view to ensuring that it is appropriate and fit for purpose. 
  • Our Departments have been working closely with Revenue and the RTB, exploring options for consideration in the context of Budget 2018 that could have the potential to support supply in the rental market.  
  • Minister Donohoe is currently examining the report of the Working Group established to undertake this review, and is considering the potential options set out therein. 
  • Both Minister Donohoe and I are mindful of the need to move forward in a considered, sure-footed manner, to bring greater stability and consistency to a market which relies on long-term investment decisions.
  • We need to recognise and value the critical contribution that private landlords make to meeting the housing needs of our people.  
  • I am very conscious that there has been a lot of change for landlords over the last number of years and that this is still going on, as we strive to deliver a well functioning rental sector that works for both landlords and tenants.
  • Change can be disruptive – but the changes currently underway, and to come, will hopefully be viewed as positives if they can bring greater consistency, stability and transparency for landlords and tenants alike.
  • As we indicated when we launched Rebuilding Ireland, all of these policy areas are being kept under review, to ensure that the existing measures are having the desired impact and to identify new initiatives where more concerted action is warranted.
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Latest Data From RTB Quarterly Rent Index

Sep 25, 2017

19th September 2017

RTB Q2 2017 Rent Index shows nationally private sector rents grew by 6.6% annually.
National standardised rent stood at €1,017 per month, up €63 from Q2 2016.
Rents in Dublin grew by 3.3% in Quarter 2 2017.
Two additional Local Electoral Areas meet the designation criteria for Rent Pressure Zones : Drogheda and Greystones. These two new Rent Pressure Zones come into operation on 20 September 2017.


Nationally, private sector rents grew 6.6% in the year end to the end of June this year. However, the rate of increase in the second quarter was marginally slower than in Quarter 1. The standardised average national rent stood at €1,017 per month in Q2, 2017 – up by €63 – compared to the same period last year, when it was €954.

While the quarter-on-quarter growth was relatively flat in Q1, 2017, the pace of growth has accelerated in the second quarter. Standardised rents increased 2.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q2, 2017, up from 0.04% in Q1.

Demand for rented accommodation in Dublin is very high as evidenced by rents in the capital now being 10.8% above their previous peak in Q4, 2007. Overall rents in Dublin increased in Q2, 2017 by 3.3% compared to the previous quarter. Rents for Dublin apartments are now 14.7% above the previous peak of Q4, 2007, while outside Dublin rents are 3.8% below their 2007 peak levels.

This data is contained in the Q2 2017 Rent Index Report of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). The Rent Index is the most accurate and authoritative rent report of its kind on the private accommodation sector in Ireland because it is based on the actual rents being paid for over 19,000 new tenancies registered with the RTB during the quarter.

The RTB Quarterly Rent Index now comprises two sets of rental indicators for the Irish market. The main Index is compiled on the basis of rents registered with the RTB for each Local Electoral Area (LEA) throughout the country, and was developed following the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones by the Government in December 2016. Based on the rental data of this latest Rent Index, two additional LEAs meet the designation criteria for rent pressure zones: Drogheda and Greystones.

The Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, T.D., is making a press statement at the Ploughing Championships this afternoon on the RPZ designations. Prior to today’s announcement about Drogheda and Greystones there were 19 RPZs in the State, including the four Dublin Local Authorities and Cork City. The RTB had confirmed to the Minister that the Drogheda and Greystones LEAs meet the RPZ criteria. Following designation as an RPZ, rent increases in these areas will be limited to a maximum rent increase of 4% per annum. (See Notes to Editor for fuller details on RPZs).

 

In terms of the Dublin market, overall rents in Dublin increased in Q2, 2017 by 3.3% compared to the Q1 2017. This increase was mainly driven by an acceleration in rents for apartments, which were up 4.4% quarter-on-quarter. Private rents for Dublin houses also rose in Q2, 2017, albeit at a more modest 0.9%.

On an annual basis, rents continued to grow, increasing by 5.8% in Dublin. In Q2, 2017, there was some evidence of a moderation in the pace of expansion for Dublin houses, continuing the trend seen in the first quarter. Also for Dublin apartments, the year-on-year growth rate dropped from 7.4% to 6.8% in Q2.

Outside Dublin, rents for houses and apartments continued to grow, both on a quarterly basis and an annual basis. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate overall was 3.1% in private sector rents, representing an increase from 1.3% in Q1, 2017. Annual growth rates also appeared to be consistent, at 8%, in line with the previous quarter. Behind the headline figure, there had been acceleration in apartment rental price growth outside Dublin on an annualised basis, increasing to 9.3% year-on-year.

Commenting on the report, the Director of the RTB, Ms. Rosalind Carroll, said: "The findings for the second quarter of this year are a further reflection of the ongoing pressure in the rental sector as demand continues to outstrip supply, and with two further areas, Drogheda and Greystones, meeting the RPZ criteria. These results reflect the second quarter since RPZs were first introduced. It is still too early to identify trends from these results, particularly in such a volatile market with restricted supply.

"Annually in the Dublin market we have had 3 quarters showing decline in the annual rate of growth from 8.5% to 6.4% and 5.8% respectively. However, we did see quarter on quarter growth of 3.3% in Quarter 2 in Dublin and we would have liked to have seen more evidence of further dampening of the market. It is important to note, when looking at the results of the Rent Index that new supply, not rented before, is exempted from the RPZ measures and therefore the results for RPZ areas are a reflection of RPZ and non-RPZ rented dwellings".

"We would encourage any existing, or new tenants, who are faced with increases over and above the 4% cap to refer a dispute to the RTB, and the same advice applies to tenants entering a new tenancy. Even if a tenant has agreed to a rent in excess of the limit and signed a tenancy agreement, they are still protected under the law; they cannot contract out their rights. If a landlord has been found not to have not adhered to the limits, it can have significant consequences and damages of up to €20,000 can be awarded as well as repayment of the additional rent. Cases can be referred to the RTB up to six years after the tenancy was in place".

The RTB will also be on-site hosting a stand at the Ploughing Championships, to take the opportunity of such a large event to provide information to the public.


Private Rental Market by Numbers in Q2, 2017

Location
Dublin was still the largest rental market in Q2, 2017, accounting for 37.7% of the total; the same as Q1, 2017. Compared to Q1 the share of rental properties in Dublin fell again marginally, by around 0.3%. In Q3, 2007, when rents were at their peak, this was closer to 41%.

Property size and type
Two and three bed properties were the most common in the rental market. Two bedroom properties accounted for 36.5% of the total, while three bed properties accounted for a further 32.4%. In terms of the housing type, apartments were the most common rental unit, accounting for 42% of total. The second and third most common property types were semi-detached and terraced houses, accounting for 25% and 15% of the total. Detached houses made up 11% of the total.

Rents and house prices
Both the CSO property price index and the RTB Rent Index for Dublin and outside Dublin increased in the second quarter of 2017. Further evidence of price pressures for housing in Ireland was evident in the acceleration of house price growth into Q2. Supply shortages and pressures will continue as housing completions remain below long term demand.

Distribution of rents
On a quarterly basis, the underlying trends have remained relatively stable over the last number of years. The most striking pattern over the last four years has been the increase in the proportion of rents in the top of the price range, highlighting the general rise in rent costs over the period. 23% of the total stock of rented properties now cost €300+ per week. This compares to only 9% back in Q3, 2013.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS
The Residential Tenancies Board and the Rent Index report

  The RTB is a public body set up to support and develop a well-functioning rental housing sector. Its role is (i) to resolve cheaply and speedily disputes between landlords and tenants; (ii) maintain a national register of tenancies, and (iii) supply data and advice on the sector. Its remit extends to the Approved Housing Body sector, as well as the private rental sector.

 The work of the RTB can be divided into three main areas:

REGISTRATION
All private residential landlords and Approved Housing Bodies, who are not for profit housing providers, often referred to as Housing Associations, are obliged to register their tenancies with the RTB. By the end of Q2, 2017, there were approximately 344,000 tenancies registered with the RTB and it has a public register of tenancies available on its website (
www.rtb.ie ). The registration of tenancies enables the RTB to collect important data on the sector, but is also a key part of regulating the sector and ensuring landlords and tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION
Since 2004, the RTB has replaced the courts in dealing with the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants through its Dispute Resolution Service. This service offers a choice of resolution types to parties, mediation or adjudication. By the end of Q2, 2017, the RTB had received over 3,000 applications for dispute resolution, our highest number to date.

INFORMATION AND ADVICE
The RTB provides high quality information and advice to the public, tenants and landlords on rights and obligations in terms of both living and providing accommodation in the rental sector. The RTB also provides high quality data on the rental sector, such as the Rent Index, which allows it to monitor trends in the rental sector, but also allows individuals to check and compare rents in particular locations. The RTB continuously strives to improve and develop its services so that its customers are supported in registering with the RTB, resolving disputes, and accessing information.

 RENT PRESSURE ZONES

Under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, parts of the country where rents are highest, and rising, can be designated as Rent Pressure Zones ("RPZ"), and private rents are capped.

The framework for deciding an RPZ is a Local Electoral Area (there are 137 in the State), and the qualifying criteria are:
(i) if the annual rate of rent inflation in the area has been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters, and,
(ii) the average rent for tenancies registered with the RTB in the previous quarter is above the average national rent in that quarter,
that LEA is designated as a Rent Pressure Zone. That means that rents can only be increased by a maximum of 4% annually.

After today’s announcement by Minister Murphy there are a total of 21 RPZs, incorporating 21 LEAs, in the country. The previous 19 include the four Dublin Local Authorities (Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council), and Cork City Council. The others are Cobh, Maynooth, Ballincollig – Carrigaline, Galway City Central, Galway City East, Galway City West, Celbridge – Leixlip, Naas, Kildare – Newbridge, Ashbourne, Laytown – Bettystown, Rathoath, Bray and Wicklow Town, and – from today – Drogheda and Greystones..

It is estimated that 57% of private tenancies in the country will now be included in RPZs.

 

 

 

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Annual Report 2016

Aug 30, 2017

Residential Tenancies Board’s 2016 Annual Report reflects its busiest year to date, taking over 130,000 calls and experiencing a significant increase in the demand for RTB services

The 2016 Annual Report confirms the busiest year since the RTB was established in 2004. A record 130,000 calls were dealt with in the RTB’s call centre; an increase of 10% from 2015. In addition, there were over 51,000 email queries (up 5.5%).

 

At the end of the year, there were 325,372 registered tenancies, 6,000 more than in 2015. Over 106,000 new tenancies were registered in 2016, compared with 111,000 in 2013, suggesting that many households are staying longer in their tenancies as supply remains constrained. The number of registered landlords remained steady at 175,000 at the end of 2016, and over 70% of those had just one property registered.

 

These figures reflect a growing and changing rental sector which is now comparable to many other European countries. “This means we have to adjust and transition to a rental sector that is no longer geared towards renting as a temporary solution prior to home ownership, but a rental sector that can support short and long-term renting”, according to the 2016 Annual Report of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

 

Census 2016 shows number of households living in the rental market is a core part of the national housing profile, and in many urban areas renting is now the dominant housing tenure.

 

In launching the annual report, the RTB noted the considerable changes that have taken place since last year with 55% of tenancies now covered by Rent Pressure Zones. Since they were introduced,  the number of calls per day to the RTB has increased from 600 a day to 1,000 at its peak. While the number of dispute applications about rent reviews has increased by 160% in the 8 month period.

 

Rosalind Carroll, RTB Director said:  “We would encourage any existing or new tenants who are faced with increases over and above 4% or to refer a dispute to the RTB, as well as tenants renting a new property. Even if a tenant has agreed to a rent and signed a tenancy agreement, they are still protected under the law; they cannot contract out their rights. If a landlord has been found to have charged an illegitimate rent, it has significant consequences and damages up to €20,000 can be awarded as well as repayment of the additional rent. Cases can be referred to the RTB up to six years after the tenancy was in place”. The RTB website has information on RPZs and a user friendly Rent Calculator to help landlords and tenants make sure the rent charged is appropriate.

 

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has reminded landlords and tenants of the powers it has in law to regulate the rental sector and resolve disputes. This includes ensuring that rents charged are appropriate and in line with the Rent Pressure Zone legislation.

 

Referring to the range of legislative reforms last year, RTB Director Rosalind Carroll said: “2016 saw the introduction of Rent Pressure Zone areas which now cover 55% of all tenancies. In these areas rents cannot increase by more than 4% and our focus is to create an understanding of what is a very complex legislative framework”. 

 

Last year, the RTB received 4,837 new applications for dispute resolution. While this was a 20% increase on 2015, it was in line with the increase in overall tenancies in the sector.  The most common dispute types remained rent arrears and overholding  by tenants, and  invalid notice of termination and deposit retention by landlords.

 

The RTB has also focused on ongoing improvement in its case processing times; reducing from 26 weeks in 2014, to 14 weeks in 2015, and this went to 12 weeks in 2016. “These timelines make for an effective and efficient service, which benefits tenants awaiting deposits to be returned, or landlords experiencing rent arrears”.

 

Enforcement is also a key function of the RTB, to ensure all tenancies are registered, and all Determination Orders from disputes cases are complied with. In 2016, the Board contacted over 20,000 landlords who had not registered tenancies (after which the majority registered). “In a  small number of cases, it has been necessary to prosecute; 2016 saw 37 cases prepared for prosecution with 29 district court summons issued and 20 criminal convictions”, the Report says.

 

The RTB also takes the issue of non-compliance with Determination Orders very seriously. In 2016, the RTB received 359 requests to pursue enforcement on behalf of a disputing party. “As part of our assessment process, preliminary checks are carried out to identify urgent cases and cases concerning overholding and unlawful termination of a tenancy are prioritised. In 2016, the RTB obtained 204 Circuit Court orders”.

 

Ms. Carroll also points out that since January 2016, the RTB has provided free telephone mediation, and the time period for appeals from adjudications has reduced from 21 days to ten days  as of December 2016.


 

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Appointment as Chairperson to the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency

Aug 30, 2017

The Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government, invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for the position of Chairperson of the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency.

Candidates for the Chair of the Housing and Sustainable Communities Agency must have:

  • Proven track record in a leadership role in a medium size or large organisation;
  • Significant corporate governance and compliance experience;
  • Proven track record that demonstrates highly effective communication skills;
  • Previous experience as a member of a Board or Committee;
  • A career history which would demonstrate an ability to understand high level financial data and good financial management practice;
  • A career history which would demonstrate the ability to manage relationships with multiple stakeholders, including with the local authority and voluntary housing sector.

In addition to the required skills set out above, the following skills and experience would be considered advantageous:

  • Experience which demonstrates that the applicant has knowledge of issues associated with the housing sector, particularly social housing;
  • A demonstrable understanding of policy developments at a national and international level that impact on housing policy;
  • A demonstrable understanding of the relationship between the Agency and its stakeholders (the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government; Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies);
  • Significant corporate governance and compliance experience, and knowledge of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies (August 2016);
  • Proven track record that demonstrates excellent critical analysis and decision making skills;
  • Previous experience as a Chairperson of a Board or Committee.

For more information click here

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RTB and USI launch information guide for students

Aug 15, 2017

58% of students spending up to €500 a month on rent

RTB and USI launch information guide for students

 

Monday, 14 August 2017: New research from the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) finds 58% of students are spending between €256 and €500 a month on rent, while 36% of students have no income to cover the monthly costs associated with their accommodation. USI and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) are today launching the 2017 Finance and Accommodation Guide to help students know their rights as tenants, and to budget for the year ahead.

The Finance and Accommodation Guide details the rights students have as tenants, and it is particularly useful for students who are renting for the first time. The guide notes the need to ensure you have a record of all payments, including rent, either electronically via bank transfer or within a rent book provided by your landlord. There is a rent book also available within the guide.

 

While there is no legal obligation for a landlord to provide a written lease agreement to a tenant, a written agreement as to the terms of the tenancy including all parties rights and responsibilities is encouraged to capture detail which are not covered by the law such as are pets permitted, if the tenancy is for a fixed term and if so how long, or who is responsible for maintaining the garden, can pictures be hung etc. Irrespective of whether a written lease agreement is in place, both landlords and tenants still have rights and responsibilities set out in the legislation. Both parties (landlords and tenants) are encouraged to understand and discuss those rights and responsibilities so that it is clear from the outset and to reduce the possibility of a dispute arising subsequently.

 

The guide also provides information on finance, and gives budgeting tips for students to financially manage the college year.

 

“USI is excited to be launching the 2017 Finance and Accommodation guide with the RTB” Michael Kerrigan, USI President, said. “The Finance and Accommodation Guide is every student’s go-to resource while living in rented accommodation. USI want to ensure students coming to college for the first time know their rights as tenants, and can budget for the year. The average cost of college is €12,500, and USI research shows 58% of students are spending between €256 and €500 for accommodation a month. The cost of accommodation is proving difficult for students and the cost of rent is leaving no money for food, travel or books. This guide will help students budget for the year ahead, and keep track of their spending to meet the costly demands of studying.”

 

The RTB and USI are advising students not to hand over money until they receive the keys, and the tenancy begins. In light of recent rental scams, USI is also urging students to transfer deposit money electronically, or if they have to pay by cash to make sure they always get a receipt.

 

Students are encouraged to check if any potential landlord is or was registered with the RTB on their “published register” available at www.rtb.ie as good landlords tend to abide by the law.

 

Launching the Guide, RTB Director Rosalind Carroll said, “This is a valuable guide for all students, especially first-years. It is important that students renting accommodation are aware of their rights and responsibilities and that they openly discuss them with their landlord so that everyone is clear from the start what is expected which should prevent disputes arising. The majority of disputes that come to the RTB involve landlords or tenants who simply did not understand their rights and responsibilities.  The RTB believe open, continuous and respectful communication is key to a positive tenancy. Tenants should be aware of and use the services of the Residential Tenancies Board if a dispute arises.

 

The guide provides lots of helpful information on finding rented accommodation, viewing and moving into properties, and ending tenancies.  All tenants and prospective tenants are also urged to go to our website, www.rtb.ie which provides extensive information for both tenants and landlords, including information on our disputes resolution service. For further information, call the RTB on 0818 30 30 37 or 01 702 8100.”

 

Ms Carroll said that the RTB has also published a guide to security deposits in order to provide clarity on this frequently debated area. Both tenants and landlords should read this guide before initiating a tenancy to avoid any problems over the course of a tenancy.

 

The RTB Rent Index provides the most accurate data on actual rents in areas around Ireland. Websites like Daft.ie are useful for renting, while Students’ Union Facebook groups or free websites like homes.usi.ie for digs are useful sources to find accommodation.

 

 

 

 

Contact for further comment:

 

USI President - Michael Kerrigan

Mob: (087) 691 1515

E-mail: president@usi.ie

 

For more information and access to case studies, please contact:

 

USI Public Relations Executive - Daniel Waugh

Mob: (087) 665 1044 | (01) 905 2100

E-mail: dan.waugh@usi.ie | Website: www.usi.ie

 

Notes:

 

  • FURTHER CASE STUDIES OF STUDENTS LOOKING FOR ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST.

 

  • USI is the national representative body for the 354,000 students in third level education on the Island of Ireland. USI works to improve and protect the lives of students every day on academic and social issues through campaigns, training and research.

 

  • The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is a State body set up to support and develop a well-functioning rental housing sector. Its remit is the private rental sector and Approved Housing Bodies. Its functions are (i) to regulate the rental sector; (ii) provide information to inform policy; (iii) maintain a national register of tenancies; (iv) resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, and (v) provide information to the public.

 

Since its establishment in 2004, the RTB has replaced the courts in dealing with the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants. Its Dispute Resolution Service offers a choice to parties – mediation or adjudication.

 

  • USI report on student housing had 3,447 valid responses from students all over Ireland collected over 4 weeks in February 2017. Full report is unpublished.

 

 

 

 

 

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Public Consultation on Review of Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness

Jul 26, 2017

Mr. Eoghan Murphy, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government opened a public consultation process on the 21 July 2017, inviting submissions on the targeted review of the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, following its first full year of implementation.

Rebuilding Ireland – Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness was published on 19 July 2016 as the Government’s response to the biggest single challenge facing Ireland — the housing and homeless crisis.

Rebuilding Ireland, together with the Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector (published on 13 December 2016), comprises 113 actions, across five key Pillar Areas, as follows:

  1. Address Homelessness
  2. Accelerate Social Housing
  3. Build More Homes
  4. Improve the Rental Sector
  5. Utilise Existing Housing

The consultation will run until Friday, 11 August 2017.

How to get involved?

Further details and access to the consultation document is available on the Department’s website at Public consultation review of Rebuilding Ireland or you can also access them on the Rebuilding Ireland site.

Written submissions are welcome from stakeholders within the housing and homelessness sectors as well as from members of the public and should be sent to rebuildingireland@housing.gov.ie not later than 12 noon on Friday, 11th August 2017.  

Alternatively, responses can be posted to:

Review of Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan, Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1, D01 W6X0.

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Important Information on Fire Safety

Jun 26, 2017

In light of the recent tragic fire in Grenfell Tower in London, the Residential Tenancies Board is reminding landlords of their responsibilities in relation to fire safety and to ensure that their properties are fully compliant with the fire safety standards and regulations applicable to rental properties. Under the Residential Tenancies Act, it is a responsibility for all landlords to comply with Minimum Standards.

The RTB is working closely with Local Authority Fire Departments, who are responsible for ensuring compliance, and the National Directorate Fire and Emergency Management to provide useful information to landlords in the coming days. Specific information on the requirements for fire safety can be found in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 .

These standards require landlords to ensure:

  • There is a suitable self-contained fire detection and alarm system in each house.
  • There is a suitably located fire blanket.
  • That each self-contained house in a multi-unit building shall contain a suitable fire detection and alarm system and an emergency evacuation plan. A multi unit building is a building that contains two or more houses that share common access.
  • That there is a suitable fire detection and alarm system provided in common areas within a multi-unit building.
  • Emergency lighting is provided in all common areas within a multi-unit building.
  • Fire detection and alarm systems and emergency lighting systems required shall be maintained in accordance with current standards (i.e. standards produced by the National Standards Authority of Ireland for Fire Detection and Fire Alarm Systems in Buildings and for Emergency Lighting)

The RTB have developed useful guide on the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations and their application to private rental tenancies here (the new standards, effective from the 1st July 2017, are highlighted in red) and the full regulations can be accessed here.  The Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (DHPCLG) have a “Guide to Fire Safety in Flats, Bedsits and Apartments” which addresses the protection of life from fire in existing flats and buildings containing flats and provides guidance for persons in control of buildings across a number of areas which can be accessed here.

 If you have concerns about the minimum standards, you can contact your Local Authority. Alternatively, if you feel there has been a breach of the minimum standards that you have been unable to remedy with your landlord, you can contact the Residential Tenancies Board.

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Department of Housing Review of Rent Predictability Measure

Jun 15, 2017

Introduction

On foot of a commitment made by Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, to review the Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) measure, the Rental Market and AHB Regulation Section of the Department is carrying out a review to examine the operation of the measure to date and put forward options, if and where appropriate, for amendments to the measure. 

The Review will be carried out by the Department in conjunction with the key participants in the RPZ designation process, namely the Housing Agency and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).  Input from interested parties on these matters is welcomed and this focused consultation paper has been prepared to inform and assist in gathering these views.  

Consultation Process

This consultation will be open for submissions from the public and interested parties from 15 June to 30 June, 2017. Any submissions received after this date may not be considered. The consultation document can be viewed here or on the Department of Housing website http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/private-rented-housing/rent-predictability/public-consultation-review-rent-predictability

 The preferred means of response is by email to: rentalstrategy@housing.gov.ie -  please ensure that “Review of Rent Predictability Measure” is stated in the subject line.

Alternatively, you may respond by post to:

Rental Market & AHB Regulation Section

Department of Housing, Planning, Community & Local Government

Newtown Road

Wexford

Y35 AP90

When responding, please indicate if you are a landlord (individual or corporate), tenant, representative body or member of the public. 

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Latest Data from RTB Quarterly Rent Index

Jun 15, 2017

⦁ NATIONALLY PRIVATE SECTOR RENTS GREW BY 7.37% IN THE YEAR FROM QUARTER 1 2016 TO QUARTER 1 2017

⦁ QUARTER ON QUARTER GROWTH APPEARS TO BE MODERATING WITH AN INCREASE OF LESS THAN 0.1% (DOWN FROM 2.8% IN THE LAST INDEX)

⦁ OVERALL, RENTS IN DUBLIN DECLINED THIS QUARTER BY 1.5%

⦁ NO ADDITIONAL LOCAL ELECTORAL AREAS MEET CRITERIA FOR RENT PRESSURE ZONE DESIGNATION

⦁ DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING LAUNCHES PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON THE REVIEW OF THE RENT PRESSURE ZONES


Private sector rents continued to grow in the first quarter of 2017, increasing by 7.37%, according to the latest Quarterly Rent Index from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) over the year from Quarter 1 2016 to Quarter 1 2017.


The Index shows that while rents continue to trend upwards, quarter on quarter growth was relatively flat, increasing by 0.1%. This is down from 2.8% the previous quarter. The standardised average national rent is now €987 per month, which is up €1 on Quarter 4 2016.


Trends in private sector rents in Dublin and outside Dublin appear to be mixed once again, illustrating the diversity of the rental market across the country.


Rents in Dublin and surrounding commuter counties are amongst the highest relative to the national average, with parts of Cork and Galway cities also above the average.


However, overall, rents in Dublin declined this quarter by 1.5%, driven primarily by a fall in rents for Dublin apartments. Private rents for houses continued to rise in this quarter albeit marginally, by 0.1%. For apartments, there is evidence of a moderate slowdown in the pace of expansion; year on year growth dropped from double digits down to 7.9%. On an annual basis across houses and apartments, rents continued to grow, increasing by 7.37% from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017, with Dublin rents now at 8% above their previous peak in Q4 2007.


Outside Dublin, rents for houses and apartments continued to grow on a quarterly basis, resulting in an overall growth of 1.3% in private sector rents. Annual growth increased by 7.6%, a trend, which is observed for houses and apartments, which increased over the year by 7.5% and 7.2% respectively. Rents are still 8% below their peak levels in 2007, however, the margin between the two is shrinking each quarter.


Commenting on the findings of the report, the Director of the RTB, Ms. Rosalind Carroll, said: “This Index relates to the January to March period of 2017, and therefore is the first rent index looking at the period since rent pressure zones were first introduced. The rent Index will be an important tool to monitor the impacts of the new measure. The findings for the first quarter do suggest that the rate of increase in private rents is moderating. However, the rental market is still volatile and it is too early to determine if this moderation is a trend. We would like to see similar findings over consecutive quarters in order to identify trends.”


Based on the rental data of this latest Rent Index, no additional parts of the country meet the criteria to be designated as Rent Pressure Zones. There are currently 19 RPZs in the State including the four Dublin Local Authorities and Cork City.


The Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, today (15 June, 2017) has announced the launch of a public consultation on the review of the Rent Predictability Measure and the system of Rent Pressure Zones introduced in December last. Submissions received from the consultation process will feed into the review of the measure, which is currently underway. The RTB would strongly encourage landlords and tenants to make a submission and to have your views heard on the impact of the measure to date. Further details and access to the consultation document is available on the Department’s website at www.housing.gov.ie and can be accessed on www.rtb.ie.


This data contained in the latest Rent Index Report of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), is produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). The index is the most accurate and authoritative rent report of its kind on the private accommodation sector in Ireland because it is based on the actual rents being paid for the 23,866 new tenancies registered with the RTB during that quarter.


The Rent Index now comprises two sets of rental indicators for the Irish market. The main one is compiled on the basis of rents registered with the RTB for each Local Electoral Area (LEA) throughout the country. This was introduced last quarter and allows for more granular analysis of the rents data for the country.



Private Rental Market by Numbers


Location

Dublin was still the largest rental market in Q1 2017, accounting for around 38% of the total. Compared to Q4, 2016, the share of rental properties in Dublin fell marginally by around 0.3%. In 2007 Q3, when rents were at their peak, this was closer to 41%.


Property Size and type


The data indicates that 2 and 3 bed properties are still the most common on the market and this trend has been broadly consistent over time. Together, 2 and 3 beds make up around 69% of the market. Nationally, apartments continue to remain the most common property type, accounting for 42% of the total. The second and third most common property types are semi-detached and terraced houses, accounting for 25% and 15% of the total.


Rents and House prices


Both the CSO property price index and the RTB rent index for Dublin and Outside Dublin increased in the first quarter of 2017. House price growth nationally picked up again in the first quarter of the year and now outpaces rent growth. In Dublin, house price growth between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017 was 1.8% compared to an increase of 0.1% for rents in Dublin.


Distribution of rents

On a quarterly basis, the underlying trends have remained relatively stable over the last number of years. The most striking pattern over the last 4 years has been the general rise in rent costs; 23% of the total stock of rented properties now cost €300+ per week. This compares to only 9 per cent back in 2013 Q3.



 About the Residential Tenancies Board and the Rent Index report


The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is a public body set up to support and develop a well-functioning rental housing sector. Our role is to:

⦁ provide information to inform policy on the sector;

⦁ maintain a national register of tenancies;

⦁ resolve disputes between landlords and tenants cheaply and speedily;

⦁ provide information to the public.


The work of the RTB can be divided into three main areas:


REGISTRATION

All private residential landlords and Approved Housing Bodies, who are not for profit housing providers, often referred to as Housing Associations, are obliged to register their tenancies with the RTB. By the end of Q1, 2017, there were 337,306 tenancies registered with the RTB and it has a public register of tenancies available on its website (www.rtb.ie). The registration of tenancies enables the RTB to collect important data on the sector, but is also a key part of regulating the sector and ensuring landlords and tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities.


DISPUTE RESOLUTION

Since 2004, the RTB has replaced the courts in dealing with the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants through its Dispute Resolution Service. This service offers a choice of resolution types to parties, mediation or adjudication. By the end of Q1, 2017, the RTB had received 1,803 applications for dispute resolution.


INFORMATION

The RTB provides high quality information and advice to the public, tenants and landlords on rights and obligations in terms of both living and providing accommodation in the rental sector. The RTB also provides high quality data on the rental sector, such as the Rent Index, which allows it to monitor trends in the rental sector, but also allows individuals to check and compare rents in particular locations. The RTB continuously strives to improve and develop its services so that its customers are supported in registering with the RTB, resolving disputes, and accessing information.

 

RENT PRESSURE ZONES


Under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, parts of the country where rents are highest, and rising, can be designated as Rent Pressure Zones (“RPZ”), and private rents are capped. The framework for deciding an RPZ is a Local Electoral Area (there are 137 in the State), and the qualifying criteria are:

⦁ if the annual rate of rent inflation in the area has been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters, and,

⦁ the average rent for tenancies registered with the RTB in the previous quarter is above the average national rent in that quarter,

that LEA is designated as a Rent Pressure Zone. That means that rents can only be increased by a maximum of 4% annually.


There are now a total of 19 RPZs, incorporating 45 LEAs in the country, including the four Dublin Local Authorities (Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire/ Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council), and Cork City Council. The others are Cobh, Maynooth, Ballincollig – Carrigaline, Galway City Central, Galway City East, Galway City West, Celbridge – Leixlip, Naas, Kildare – Newbridge, Ashbourne, Laytown – Bettystown, Rathoath, Bray and Wicklow Town.

It is estimated that 57% of private tenancies in the country are now in RPZs.

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Residential Tenancies Board – Information Seminar

Jun 02, 2017

The Residential Tenancies Board information seminar is now fully booked.



We are planning another information seminar. If you would like to be on the waiting list for the next seminar please email you name, contact phone number, company (if applicable) and email address to rsvp@rtb.ie



Best regards,
Residential Tenancies Board
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23 May 2017 Tenancy Protection Service Awareness Campaign

May 24, 2017



The Tenancy Protection Service successfully protects over 3000 households at risk of losing their  tenancy in the Dublin region. The four Dublin Local Authorities and Threshold today officially launched the public awareness campaign for the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) which encourages people to contact the service when their tenancy is at risk. Speaking at the photocall of the public awareness campaign Eileen Gleeson, Director, Dublin Region Homeless Executive said “We strongly encourage families and individuals who are renting and may be worried about losing their home to contact the Tenancy Protection Service on FREEPHONE 1800 454 454. This service has been instrumental in preventing homelessness in the first instance and supporting people to remain in their homes”. Pictured at the launch of the public awareness campaign for the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) on Suffolk St. Dublin 2

For more information please go to homelessdublin.ie or call 1800 454 454


 

 

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Latest Data from RTB Quarterly Rent Index

Mar 29, 2017

⦁ PRIVATE SECTOR RENTS GREW BY 7.8% ACROSS THE COUNTRY AS A WHOLE IN Q4 2016

⦁ PRIVATE RENTS IN DUBLIN NOW 8.3% ABOVE 2007 PEAK LEVEL; 2.7% BELOW PEAK FOR WHOLE COUNTRY.

⦁ EXPANDED RENT INDEX CAPTURES RENT LEVELS BY LOCAL ELECTORAL AREA.

⦁ TWO ADDITIONAL LOCAL ELECTORAL AREAS MEET THE DESIGNATION CRITERIA FOR RENT PRESSURE ZONES: COBH AND MAYNOOTH.

Wednesday 29th March 2017: Growth in private sector rents continued across all regions of the country in the final quarter of 2016, according to the latest Quarterly Rent Index from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Private sector rents across the country as a whole grew by 7.8% year on year from Q4 in 2016, and the standard national average rent in the final quarter of last year stood at €986 per month.

Overall, nationally, rents are now 2.7% below the 2007 peak. Outside of Dublin, houses are 11.1% below the 2007 peak level, while apartments are 5.8% below, although rents have been steadily increasing since the beginning of 2015.

Demand in Dublin increased significantly in Q4 2016, reflected in an 11.1% increase in rents for apartments. Rents in Dublin are now 8.3 % greater than the Q4 2007 peak. The growth in rents for apartments was more pronounced than for housing, now standing at 12.3% above the 2007 peak, compared to 5% for houses.

Looking at the quarter-on-quarter picture, at a national level, the growth rate increased at a rate of 2.7% and, in Dublin, rents for houses and apartments in Q4 2016 were up by 3.3% and 4.2% respectively. Outside Dublin, the pace of growth in rents for houses slowed by 0.3% in the quarter, while the pace of growth in apartments quickened.  In 2016 the average quarterly growth in the Dublin Rent Index exceeded the equivalent growth rate in national house prices, growing 2.2% compared to 1.4%.

The RTB Rent Index, compiled by the Economic and Social Research Index (ESRI), has also now been expanded and this edition, for the first time, also reflects the inclusion of more localised geographical information, based on analysing rents for each Local Electoral Area (LEA). The data captures local rental price variations more accurately and allows for disaggregation of standardised rents across all LEAs.
This, more granular, data is used to determine what areas are designated as Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs); that is LEAs where rents increased by 7% or more in four of the previous six quarters and where the average rent is above the average standardised national rent.

Since legislation providing for the establishment of Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) was introduced, LEAs in the counties of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare were designated as RPZs by Minister Simon Coveney. Now, following the findings of the RTB Q4 2016 Rent Index, two additional LEAs will meet the designation criteria for rent pressure zones: Cobh and Maynooth. 

Commenting on the new, expanded format of the index, the RTB Director, Ms. Rosalind Carroll, said the RTB had sought “to provide this information as soon as possible to all concerned - tenants, landlords, estate agents, central government, local authorities and other State agencies - so that all users can benefit from this more granular-level information, and relate the information contained in the Index to the rules governing the establishment of the Rent Pressure Zones”.

Ms Carroll added: “The Rent Index report shows that rents in Dublin and the surrounding commuter counties, along with Cork and Galway Cities, are among the highest relative to the standardised average rent. These results reflect a rental market that remains volatile with restricted supply”.

The Rent Index for Q4 2016 was based on 26,276 tenancies registered. The methodology to enable the provision of data at the LEA level has been adapted and tested and, therefore, the Rent Index can now provide a better picture of local markets. It remains one of the most authoritative reports on the private rented sector.

Private Rental Market by Numbers

Location

Dublin was still the largest rental market in Q4 2016, accounting for around 38% of the total.

Property size and type

Two and three-bed properties are still the most common on the market and, combined, they make up around 69% of the market. Nationally, the most common property type is apartments, accounting for 43% of the total; and the second most common properties on the market are semi-detached houses.

Rents and house prices

The pace of growth in the Dublin rent index exceeded that of house prices in Q4 2016, growing 2.2% compared to 1.4%. Although there was an increase in rents outside Dublin, the growth was moderate at 0.6%.

Distribution of rents

Around 44% of properties are being rented for between €100-200 per week, while rents of more than €300 per week now account for 23% of the total. 

About the Residential Tenancies Board and the Rent Index report

We are a public body set up to support and develop a well functioning rental housing sector.
Our role is to resolve cheaply and speedily disputes between landlords and tenants, maintain a national register of tenancies and supply data and advice on the sector. Our remit extends to the Approved Housing Body sector, as well as the private rental sector.

The work of the RTB can be divided into three main areas;

REGISTRATION

 

  • All private residential landlords and Approved Housing Bodies, who are not for profit housing providers, often referred to as Housing Associations, are obliged to register their tenancies with the RTB. By 2016 year end, there were 325,372 tenancies registered with the RTB and it has a public register of tenancies available on its website (www.rtb.ie) . The registration of tenancies enables the RTB to collect important data on the sector, but is also a key part of regulating the sector and ensuring landlords and tenants are aware of their rights and responsibilities.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION

  • Since 2004, the RTB has replaced the courts in dealing with the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants through its Dispute Resolution Service. This service offers a choice of resolution types to parties, mediation or adjudication. By 2016 year end, the RTB had received 4,837 applications for dispute resolution, our highest number to date.
INFORMATION AND ADVICE
  • The RTB provides high quality information and advice to the public, tenants and landlords on the rights and obligations in terms of both living and providing accommodation in the rental sector. The RTB also provides high quality data on the rental sector, such as the Rent Index, which allows it to monitor trends in the rental sector, but also allows individuals to check and compare rents in particular locations.

 

The RTB continuously strives to improve and develop its services so that its customers are supported in registering with the RTB, resolving disputes, and accessing information.

Rent Index Report – Additional Information

Methodology

A technical description of the new model and how it compares with the older approach is contained in the technical appendix on page 24 of the Rent Index Report.The older RTB index is constructed following the practice of the Central Statistics Office when constructing the Residential Property Price Index and uses a “rolling” time dummy hedonic regression model.
The old model, because it provided results at aggregated levels (National, Dublin, and ‘outside of Dublin’), worked very well and is still useful in providing detailed analysis on differing trends between apartments and houses; the distributions of rents, and analysis of the Dublin and ‘outside of Dublin’ markets. 
For the new index, on the other hand, an alternative approach is required whereby the model is estimated over the entire time period (2007 Q3 to 2016 Q4), and time dummy variables are then included in the hedonic regression to capture the change in the index for each LEA.

The results from the new model present a near identical assessment of national trends in rents to that which emerges from the older model, and in the calculation of standardised rents, the difference is marginal. It is particularly important to note that in no instances would the transition from the old to the new model result in a different Rent Pressure Zone treatment of a Local Electoral Area.

In the interests of transparency, the RTB will continue to provide data using both methodologies for at least the next two quarters in order that confidence is maintained in the integrity of the index.

Heat Maps
Given the large amount of regional information now available, the expanded Rent Index now presents the results through the use of “heat-maps”, with different colours assigned to different criteria: 
⦁ whether the LEA has an annualised growth rate in excess of 7 per cent for four of the last six quarters;
⦁ whether their average standardised rent is above, or below, the national average; and
⦁ where both conditions prevail and a resulting Rent Pressure Zone should be designated. 
The “heat” maps on pages 7 and 8 of the Rent Index report show that LEAs mainly centred around Dublin, Cork and Galway experienced both conditions.

 

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Working Group on Tax / Fiscal Treatment of Rental Accommodation Providers public consultation launched

Mar 13, 2017

  • The Rebuilding Ireland – Strategy for the Rental Sector, published by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government in December 2016, committed to the establishment of a Working Group to examine and report on the tax treatment of landlords (or rental accommodation providers), and to put forward options, where appropriate, for amendments to such treatment. 
  • The Working Group is chaired by the Department of Finance and its membership includes officials from Department of Housing, the Revenue Commissioners and the Residential Tenancies Board.
  • During the process of developing the Rebuilding Ireland strategy a public consultation was undertaken by the Department of Housing on a broad range of issues relating to the housing market.  A number of taxation issues were raised in the responses received to this consultation and the Working Group has decided to conduct a focused consultation seeking further detailed input from interested parties on these matters.

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Michael Noonan T.D. has today launched that tax-focused public consultation, which will run for a period of four weeks to 7 April 2017. Speaking about the Tax and Fiscal Treatment of Landlords Consultation, Minister Noonan said:

“Ensuring sufficient, stable and sustained provision of housing that is affordable, in the right locations, meets people’s different needs and is of lasting quality is one of the greatest challenges facing the country, and addressing that challenge is a key focus for the Government.”

“This consultation will inform our thinking and will ensure the design of better solutions without undue delay. ”

The public consultation is at the following link:

 

http://www.finance.gov.ie/what-we-do/tax-policy/consultations/taxation-rental-income-%E2%80%93-can-tax-or-fiscal-measures-support

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