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News

Latest Data From RTB Quarterly Rent Index

Dec 20, 2017

19th December 2017

 

  • Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) Q3 Rent Index shows the national standardised average rent for new tenancies was €1,056 per month; an annualised growth rate of 9.5%
  • In Dublin the average rent stood at €1,518, with the average for the greater Dublin area (Meath, Wicklow & Kildare) at €1,086, while outside of the Greater Dublin Area the average was €811
  • RTB launches an education and awareness campaign - calls for landlords and tenants to ensure rents being charged are in line with the law
     

In the July-September period this year (Q3 2017), the standardised average national rent for new tenancies in that quarter was €1,056 per month, up from €965 one year earlier. The rate of rental growth has increased in the quarter when compared to Q1 and Q2 this year. This is according to the latest Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) Rent Index which is produced in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute.

The RTB Rent Index is the most accurate and authoritative rent report of its kind on the private accommodation sector in Ireland, as it is based on data from all new tenancy agreements registered with the RTB nationally in Q3 this year. In total 29,528 new tenancies were registered in Q3, this represents an increase of over 6,000 registrations since the last quarter.

In percentage terms, nationally rents grew 9.5% over the year to Q3, an increased rate of growth compared to Q2 this year. Rents in Q3 2017 were 7% above their previous peak recorded in Q4 2007. While rents began growing again in late 2012, the acceleration in the pace of growth, beginning in early 2014, continued in the most recent quarter. This follows a moderate slowdown in the pace of growth in Q4 2016 and Q1 2017.

While this latest RTB Rent Index, which is produced in association with the Economic and Social Research Institute, found that standardised national rents increased 3.9% quarter-on-quarter in Q3 this year (up from 2.9% in Q2), it must be noted rents are seasonal in nature so quarterly growth rates can display considerable volatility.

 

 

Comparison across Regions and Cities

This latest edition of the RTB Rent Index also presents rental data on a regional basis:

(i) Dublin;

(ii) the Greater Dublin Area (Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, but excluding Dublin), and

(iii) the rest of the country.

In Q3 this year, the standardised average rent for Dublin was €1,518, up from €1,382 one year earlier. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate in Dublin was 4.1% in Q3, compared with 3.1% in Q2. On a year-on-year basis, Dublin rents were up 9.9%, compared to 5.8% year-on-year growth in Q2

For the GDA (excluding Dublin), the standardised average rent was €1,086 in Q3, up from €1,020 year-on-year. GDA rents were up 6.5% compared to 6.2% year-on-year growth in Q2 this year. The rate of rental inflation is lower than in Dublin on an annualised basis. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate in the GDA was 2.7% in Q3, compared with 2.2% in Q2.

For the rest of the country outside the GDA (Dublin, Meath, Wicklow and Kildare) the Rent Index shows that the standardised average rent in Q3 was €811, up from €743 year-on-year. Rents outside of the GDA and Dublin were up 9.2% compared to 8% year-on-year in Q2 this year. The quarter-on-quarter growth rate was 5.5% in Q3, compared to 3.5% in Q2.

Further information on the rental patterns in the cities and counties can be found in appendix 1 below or in the full report.

Commenting on the Q3 Index, RTB Director Rosalind Carroll said;

“Strong demographic and economic growth matched with low levels of supply is continuing to put significant pressure on the private rental market and those trying to find a place to live.

This is the third Rent Index report published since Rent Pressure Zones were introduced one year ago. Despite a moderate slowdown in the pace of growth in the first quarter of 2017, quarters 2 and 3 show that rents are continuing to trend upwards, with an increase in the pace of growth in quarter 3. These findings reflect the unprecedented situation of continued low supply of properties and high demand in a volatile rental market.

In reviewing these results it is important to note that;

  • the Index is reflecting new registrations rather than existing rentals,
  • that in considering RPZ areas in particular, that the index includes dwellings that are exempted from rents restrictions also. This means it is difficult to ascertain the impact on the overall averages of exempted dwellings such as properties not let in the last 24 months.”

[Note - Properties new to the rental market are exempt from the Rent Pressure Zone rent restrictions of 4% per year and therefore these higher rents will affect the overall averages. At the moment, a landlord does not have to register these exemptions with the RTB.]

 

The Director went on to say;

“It is really important that tenants and landlords are aware of their obligations and this is why the RTB is launching a further awareness campaign today, which is aimed at creating greater awareness about rent pressure zones. We estimate that the two videos/infographics will be viewed up to 100,000 times over the next ten days.

“In addition the RTB has launched a range of resources to support landlords and tenants including:

  • Extension of call opening hours from 8.30am to 6.30pm
  • Detailed guidance published on the Substantial change exemption in Rent Pressure Zones
  • Launch of a user friendly website with a webchat facility
  • A partnership with Citizens Information

“The RTB would encourage any existing, or new tenants, who are faced with increases over and above the 4% restriction to refer a dispute to the RTB, and the same advice applies to tenants entering a new tenancy if they feel the rent has not been set correctly. Likewise, landlords who want further information on rent setting in Rent Pressure Zones, contact us and we will help you understand the new requirements.”

 

Rent patterns in Irish cities and counties

This latest edition of the Rent Index has also produced a new cities model which provides for standardisation of rents in the cities of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford. Rents are highest in Dublin City and stood at €1,473 in Q3 this year. This compares to standardised average rents for Dublin as a whole of €1,518, which highlights that rents outside the city boundaries are slightly higher. In Galway City standardised average rents were €1,177 in Q3; standardised averages for Cork City were €1,132; in Limerick City €832, and in Waterford City, they were €580.

On an annualised basis, rents in Limerick City have been growing most rapidly, at just over 19.1%, with rents in Waterford growing at 14.6% year-on-year. Rents in Dublin City grew at 10.4% year-on-year, with a similar 11.4 per cent change for Cork City. Galway rents were flat on an annualised basis but the city displays a high degree of seasonality which must be considered when interpreting the trend.

Finally, the Rent Index also provides rental data on a county by county basis for all 26 counties. Rents are highest in Dublin, the surrounding counties and larger urban counties such as Cork, Galway and Limerick. In Q3 this year, there were five counties where the average rent exceeded €1,000 per month (Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare and Wicklow). The highest average rents were in Dublin at €1,518. The county with the lowest standardised average rent was Leitrim at €487 per month.

The rate of rental growth on an annualised basis was fastest in Co. Limerick at 22% per annum. Rents in Waterford grew at 14% per annum and in Monaghan and Westmeath grew at 13% per annum. The slowest growing rents were in Co. Leitrim, which grew at 2% on an annualised basis. Rents grew at 3% per annum in Galway, and at 4% per annum in Cos. Kerry and Cavan.

 

About the RTB

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. 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.
 

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.

Full story

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

Full story

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. 

Full story

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.
Full story

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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