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A survey of Ireland's rental sector is set to get underway

The Residential Tenancies Board has issued a tender for the survey to be carried out.

Image: Niall Carson via PA Images

IRELAND’S RENTAL SECTOR and the ever-soaring rental prices have been a major topic of conversation in recent years, and now survey on the sector is going to be carried out. 

The Residential Tenancies Board has issued a tender for annual surveys of the rental sector in Ireland. 

The survey, according to its tender description, will help to develop a detailed and up to date profile of the sector that can be used by the RTB and other key stakeholders as an input to policy making and to inform the management and regulation of the sector. 

The RTB provides information to tenants, landlords and the general public on their rights and obligations, in terms of both living and providing accommodation in the rental sector. 

In a statement, the RTB said: “The annual survey is a vehicle for enhancing the knowledge of the sector, hearing from stakeholders and understanding the changing profile of the sector. 

“It will be a central pillar of the research programme and a major project for the RTB.”

The RTB is in the procurement phase and expects that a tender will be awarded in the second quarter of 2019, with a timeline for delivery agreed. 

All private residential landlords and Approved Housing Bodies are obliged to register their tenancies with the RTB. At the end of 2016, there were 325,000 tenancies registered. 

The RTB also deals with the majority of disputes between landlords and tenants through its Dispute Resolution Service. 

The board has said that one of the key roles it plays in housing policy in Ireland is “providing an understanding of the rental market”. 

The government’s Rebuilding Ireland action plan published in 2016 committed to the “introduction of annual surveys of tenants and landlords to understand better the profile of the sector, changes to supply and the impact of new policy”. 

A tender has now been issued for the roll out of the survey. 

Renting in Ireland

Renting in Ireland is becoming more expensive by the month but the rate of increase is slowing thanks to rent pressure zones, according to the RTB’s latest Rent Index report published in December

It reports the national average rent was €1,122 per month, up from €1,044 one year earlier. Dublin remains the most expensive place to rent with average monthly prices now at €1,620, representing an increase of €141 from the same period last year. 

The RTB Rent Index is compiled in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI). It has shown that rent increases for existing tenancies (5.4%) were lower than those for new tenancies (8%).

This indicates that Rent Pressure Zones are having a slowing effect on the level of increase. 

Rent Pressure Zone (RPZs) laws were first introduced in December 2016 by then-Housing Minister Simon Coveney to tackle spiralling rents.

Under the legislation, annual rent rises were capped at 4% in certain areas.

RPZs are located in areas of the country where rents are highest and where households have the greatest difficulty finding affordable accommodation. 

In November, a number of politicians heavily criticised the laws surrounding RPZs. 

“Rent Pressure Zones are clearly not working for new entrants to the rental market or people who have to move,” Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said. 

Echoing the words of Ó Broin, Labour’s housing spokesperson Jan O’Sullivan TD said that RPZs are “clearly not working”. 

“Quite simply, RPZs are not working and must be scrapped. What we need instead is a nationwide control on rents that links them to the cost of living as Labour proposed in a Bill that was voted down by the government more than two years ago,” O’Sullivan said. 

In 2014, the RTB commissioned research which included a survey of landlords, tenants and agents, which can be read here.

With reporting by Garreth MacNamee

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