The other side of the rental crisis

We close out the year recording a nationwide rental price increase of 8%, with the average monthly rent now standing at €1,397, according to the latest RTB figures. As predicted by early-year figures, Dublin has seen a greater initial drop and slower rebound in rental price growth since the start of the pandemic. Interestingly, there was a 31% fall in the number of tenancies registered across Ireland, when compared with the same quarter last year. The RTB acknowledges that the lower number of tenancy registrations has impacted average rents. The latest stats around rural price growth point to “the continuation of the pandemic effect around long-term working and lifestyle choices”. By way of reaction, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has apparently sought advice on extending rent pressure zones countrywide to curb these rural rent hikes. 

We noted here in recent months that the balance of rights and responsibilities of both tenants and landlords has been out of whack for a long time. The political, social and media commentary has become increasingly one-sided against landlords, which is not entirely new, but it is unhelp as we work together to tackle Ireland’s housing crisis. In The Irish Times this week, a landlord spoke out about being “at [his] wits’ end” two years after serving notice on the tenant of his rented home. The landlord was speaking at an RTB tribunal 758 days after he first gave the tenant notice that her tenancy would terminate as his family was “under a lot of financial pressure” and had to sell the house. The tenant, who had lived at the property for two years, appealed an earlier determination that the notice to quit (NTQ) was valid and her grounds for appeal centred on an inability to secure other suitable housing. The landlord provided a reference and encouraged the tenant to engage with agencies that ought to have been in a position to help. He even went so far as to contact the local authority and offered to sell the property to them. His frustration was well captured by the Irish Times: “I don’t want to be in this position today. I am 63 years of age. I’m not getting any younger, any fitter, any healthier. There have been a lot of implications for me in the last two years and for other people because [the tenant] didn’t move out. I believe I have been legally compliant. I have attempted to be patient. I have been as considerate as I can be. I have been flexible. I have been supportive. I am not a social worker”. While no one could fail to have compassion for the tenant, this is a completely untenable situation for this particular landlord and for the vast majority of landlords in Ireland. 

If Housing for All is to stand a chance of working, next year and beyond, it must be fair for all. 

Ian Lawlor
086 3625482

Managing Director 
Lotus Investment Group