Over 90 per cent of tenants in disputes got deposit refund with RTB help

Residential Tenancies Board had 170,000 calls in 2017, up 31 per cent

Vulture funds are, on average, considering more arrangements for those in arrears when compared to banks and retail credit firms. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Vulture funds are, on average, considering more arrangements for those in arrears when compared to banks and retail credit firms. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

 

Over 90 per cent of tenants who went to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) after landlords withheld their deposits were fully or partially refunded last year, according to the RTB’s annual report.

The board had a record demand for its services last year with 170,000 calls , an increase of 31 per cent since 2016.

At the end of 2017, there were 339,447 registered tenancies, 714,000 occupants and 174,000 landlords in the sector with 70 per cent of landlords owning one property.

The 2017 annual report, launched on Thursday, shows nearly 6,000 applications for dispute resolution services, an increase of 20 per cent since 2016.

This year the report provides additional analysis on the outcomes of cases brought to the RTB in 2017.

It shows that 77 per cent of all notices of rent review determined on were found to be invalid and a total of €1.6 million in rent arrears was awarded to landlords, an average of €3,400 per landlord.

In the area of deposits, for over 90 per cent of cases, the deposit was fully or partially refunded to the tenant.

The report also gives information on why notices of termination were served, showing the majority of landlords (44 per cent) served notice for rent arrears, while 20 per cent served noticed because they intended to sell their property.

Termination

However, the report found some 74 per cent of notices of termination served citing the reason that the landlord intends to substantially refurbish or renovate the property were found to be invalid.

RTB director, Rosalind Carroll said they had learned a lot through the analysis of the disputes that are being brought forward.

“Through this information we can look at the issues that are arising for landlords, tenants and third parties and use it to adopt a proactive approach to dispute prevention through education and awareness,” she said.

The strategic plan, also launched on Thursday, provides the longer-term vision for the organisation to support changes in the rental sector.

The plan will see the RTB move forward and develop to become a proactive regulator of the rental sector, expanding its role beyond being just a quasi-judicial body.

Ms Carroll said one of the most significant changes for both the RTB and the rental sector with the enforcement powers coming down the line, is the expansion of the role of the RTB to allow them enforce the legislation.

“A key focus of our strategic plan factors is on how the RTB will support landlords and tenants through this change and help them to understand their rights and responsibilities in what is a complex regulatory framework,” she said.

Rents

The average rent countrywide for 2017 was € 1,025 per month compared to €954 in 2016, according to the RTB report.

In Dublin, the average monthly rent for 2017 was €1,470, compared to €1,381 in 2016, representing an increase of over 6.4 per cent.

Rents in Dublin increased from €1,416 in the first quarter of 2017 to €1,511 in

the last quarter which is over nine per cent above 2007 peak levels.

The average monthly rent for the greater Dublin area, excluding Dublin was €1,066, compared to €1,005 in 2016.

The report found highest average rents were in Dublin while the the county with the lowest average rent was Leitrim at €476 per month.

The rate of rental growth on an annualised basis and was fastest in Sligo at 29 per year, followed by Louth and Meath at 11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. No other counties registered double digit annual growth rates.