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Rent Increases: The Facts

Apr 16, 2014

As the recently released PRTB Rent Index shows, rents have increased by 4% nationwide in 2013. Some parts of the country, Dublin in particular, have seen quite an intense hike with the rent prices in the capital 14% higher than they were at the ‘bottom of the market’ five years ago.

 Rising rents have led to some confusion with tenants, landlords and the wider public often unaware of their rights. Answering three simple questions can avoid confusion:

1: When can a landlord increase the rent? A landlord can only increase the rent once in any 12 month period. As well as this, once a tenant begins his or her tenancy, the rent cannot be increased for at least 12 months.   If a landlord intends increasing the rent, they must inform the tenant, in writing, of any increase 28 days before the increase is due to take effect.  

2: By how much can rent be increased? Landlords are legally prohibited from setting a rent that is in excess of market rent and any increase must be in line with market rent.   Market rent can be considered the level of rent that a similar type of accommodation in a similar area with similar amenities is being charged. In other words, the rent on a two bedroom apartment in Drumcondra with access to the park, shops and a bus service to Dublin city centre should be roughly similar to all other two bedroom apartments in that area who have access to similar amenities.  

3: What can a tenant do if they feel they are being charged more than market rent? If a tenant considers that they are being asked to pay more than the market rent, they can take a dispute case to the PRTB within 28 days of receipt of receiving notice of the increase. There is a fee of €15 for on-line application or €25 for a paper application. However, tenants must continue to pay their rent until the case has been determined.  

To check what rents are being charged in your area, check out the Average Rent Dataset as well as the PRTB Rent Index: http://prtb.ie/landlords/rent-index.

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Latest PRTB/ESRI Rent Index Reflects Continued Strong Growth in Dublin Rents, and Subdued Rental market in Rest of Country

Apr 01, 2014

The latest Quarterly Rent Index of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) covering Quarter 4 of 2013, compiled by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), shows continued strong growth in Dublin Rents of 2.1 per cent for the quarter, while outside Dublin rents in the fourth quarter dropped by 0.9 per cent. The final quarter of the year is typically slower in the rental market, following the annual peak in quarter three.  

However, on an annual basis this means that rents in Dublin grew by 7.6%, comparing Q4 of 2013 to Q4 of 2012. In Dublin rents for apartments were up by as much as 10.5 per cent between Q1 and Q4 2013, while house rents in the capital rose by 6.6 per cent over the same period.  In contrast, the market outside Dublin was more subdued, with ‘outside Dublin’ showing an increase of 1.1%, comparing Q4 of 2013 with Q4 of 2012.  Some of the bigger urban areas outside of Dublin (eg Cork and Galway) saw modest increases while in many areas outside of Dublin rents declined  

The Irish rental market experienced a peak to trough decline of 26% between 2007 and 2012. While the peak-to-trough in the Dublin market was similar to that experienced nationally, the growth in rents in Dublin (mainly in 2013) means that rents are now 15.5 per cent lower than their peak.    

These findings come from the latest Quarterly Rent Index of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) covering Quarter 4, 2013, which is compiled for it by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). It is the most accurate and authoritative rent report of its kind on the private accommodation sector in Ireland because it reflects the actual rents being paid, according to the PRTB’s records, as distinct from the asking or advertised rent, which is the basis of other rent reports.  

At a national level, monthly rent levels were broadly unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2013. Looking at trends in more detail, monthly rents for houses were lower in the fourth quarter when compared to Quarter 3, down by 1.5 per cent quarter on quarter. In contrast, rents for apartments were 1.9 per cent higher than in Quarter 3, 2013.   

The sub-indices show that the national increase continues to reflect differences in the rental market between Dublin and the rest of the country. Rents in Dublin grew by 2.1 per cent when compared with the third quarter of 2013. While rents for houses in Dublin increased by 0.8 per cent, rents for Dublin apartments rose by 3.1 per cent compared to Quarter 3, 2013.  

Outside Dublin, in common with previous quarters, the indices show a mixed picture. The indices show that, for properties outside Dublin, rents in Q4, when compared with the third quarter of the year, were down by 0.9 per cent. Rents for houses outside Dublin recorded a quarterly decline of 2 per cent. The index for apartment rents outside Dublin, however, recorded a quarterly increase of 1.6 per cent in Q4.  

In recent years rental growth has weakened in the fourth quarter, following high activity levels in Q3, consistent with the demand for student accommodation in that time period. These latest numbers for Q4 2013 are in line with these previous trends.  

On an annual basis, nationally, rents were 3.3 per cent higher than in Q4 2012. The differing performance by location and property type evident in the quarterly change is also present in the annual rates of change.  Nationally, rents for houses were 1.6 per cent higher, while apartment rents were 5.2 per cent higher than in the same quarter of 2012. Annual growth in the Dublin market was stronger, up by 7.6 per cent, with Dublin house rents up by 6.4 per cent and Dublin apartment rents higher by 8 per cent.  

In contrast, annual growth in rents for the market outside Dublin was more subdued, recording growth of 1.1 per cent when compared to Q4 2012. Again the performance differs by property type. The rent for houses outside Dublin increased by 0.2 per cent, while apartments outside Dublin experienced an increase of 3 per cent.

Looking at the monetary level of rents, the average national rent for a house in Q4 in 2013 was €744; in Dublin, it averaged €1,168 and outside Dublin it was €608. The average apartment rent across the whole country in Q4 of 2013 was €844; in Dublin, it averaged €1,070, while outside Dublin it was €630.  

The PRTB website www.prtb.ie (click on “rent index”) also contains an Average Rent Dataset which enables people to check the average rent being paid for five different categories of dwelling types throughout the country, in both urban and rural areas. This enables people to check what is the actual rent being paid for, say, a semi-detached house or a two-bed apartment in their neighbourhood, and in other parts of the country.  

Commenting on the Rent Index findings, the Director of the PRTB, Ms. Anne Marie Caulfield, said: “The latest PRTB / ESRI Rent Index continues to reflect a story of significant rent rises in the Dublin region, while the ‘outside Dublin’ market remains much more subdued. For instance, in Dublin apartment rents rose by 10.5% between Q1 and Q 4 last year, while house rents rose by 6.6% in the same period. Outside Dublin, however, the rents for houses showed a slight decline (0.4%) over the year”.  

All landlords are legally obliged to register tenancies with the Board and the number of new registrations with the PRTB in 2013 was 114,405. Apartments accounted for the majority of these registrations at 46 per cent, with the next largest share by property type accounted for by semi-detached at 26.3 per cent. Dublin city and county represents the largest market for apartment rentals, accounting for 53 per cent of all apartments.  

The Index is of assistance for a range of Government purposes, including housing policy generally and informing the Department of Social Protection’s Rent Supplement scheme. It is also an important reference document in landlord/tenant disputes on rent.  It was developed in consultation and co-operation with landlord representative groups such as the Irish Property Owners Association, irishlandlord.com, the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers, the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland, and tenant representative groups such as Threshold and USI (Union of Students in Ireland).           

About the PRTB and the Rented Residential Market The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) was established in 2004 to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. It also provides policy advice to the Government on the private rented sector, and its dispute resolution service replaces the courts in relation to the majority of landlord and tenant disputes.   According to the 2011 Census, nearly 1 in 5 households in the country are renting their accommodation in the private sector.            

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