More than half of landlords had rental income below €10,000 in 2019

CSO report finds less than 5% of Republic’s rental properties built in the last 10 years

More than half of landlords in the Republic had a net rental income of below €10,000 in 2019, according to a report by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

A further 28.6 per cent generated income between €10,000 and €19,999, meaning that nearly 80 per cent earned less than €20,000 from renting their properties.

Net rental income excludes allowable expenses claimed for things such as repairs, interest and other costs. Expenses typically equate to about a third of gross rental income.

The CSO’s Rental Sector in Ireland 2021 report, developed in collaboration with the Residential Tenancies Board and the Department of Housing, suggests the sector here comprises a significant number of small landlords.


Some 86 per cent of the State’s landlords own one to two properties, while 0.3 per cent had 20 or more rental properties.

The median (or middle) gross income of landlords, after adjusting for inflation, was €48,729 in 2017 increasing to €50,091 by 2019, the report found.

More than 40 per cent of landlords with 20 or more properties had a total gross income of more than €200,000 in 2019.

Only 20 per cent of landlords said residential rental income was their primary source of income while 43.7 per cent said employee income was their primary source. The proportion of landlords under the age of 45 was also found to have decreased from 35 per cent in 2017 to just over 24 per cent in 2021.

Last 10 years

Separately, the report found that less than 5 per cent of the State's rental properties were built in the last 10 years. In contrast, about 45 per cent were built during the Celtic Tiger era (between 2001 and 2010).

The finding illustrates the sharp drop-off in building rates that occurred after the 2008 financial crisis, which preceded the current supply shortfall.

Property website said there were just 1,460 homes to rent on its website as of November 1st last, the lowest number since its data series began in 2006. This included just 820 in Dublin.

The report noted that a “very small proportion” of rental properties were built in the period after 2011. However this grew from 1.2 per cent in 2017 to 4.9 per cent in 2021, reflecting the recent acceleration in construction.

One in three rental properties in the Republic were apartments while the total floor area of rental properties was lowest in Dublin, particularly in the inner city.

Rent as a proportion of total disposable income was found to be the highest for tenants living in Dublin.

More than a third of tenants (36.1 per cent) living in Dublin city spent more than 35 per cent of their disposable income on rent in 2019, followed by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown (35.7 per cent), Fingal (34 per cent), South Dublin (32.3 per cent) and Wicklow (30.5 per cent). In contrast, only 13 per cent of tenants in Leitrim spent over 35 per cent of their disposable income on rent.

Almost three-quarters (71 per cent ) of tenants have employee income as their primary source of income while social welfare (excluding pensions) is the next highest primary income source for tenants (20.6 per cent).

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times