The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has published the quarterly Rent Index for the October to December period (Q4) of 2020. The annual national standardised average rent stayed the same at €1,256 for both Q3 and Q4 of 2020 but was up 2.7% annually.
The county with the highest standardised average rent in Q4 2020 was Dublin (€1,745 per month) and the counties with the lowest monthly rents were Donegal and Leitrim (€626 per month). At the Local Electoral Area (LEA) level, the LEA with the highest standardised average rent was Stillorgan, County Dublin (€2,385 per month) and the lowest was Carndonagh, County Donegal (€521 per month). New tenancies continued to account for approximately four-fifths of all registrations at 82.8%, with 17.2% of registrations representing tenancy renewals.
Padraig McGoldrick, Interim Director of the RTB, commented on the latest Rent Index findings: “The impact of Covid-19 on the rental sector continued into the fourth quarter of 2020. The national standardised average rent remained static in the quarter and, overall, in the year there had been a significant trend of moderation in rental inflation relative to previous years.
"While there has been a definite trend in moderation in rent levels, it is clear affordability issues and related risks remain. We understand that Covid-19 presents many challenges and adjustments for those operating and living in the rental sector. We continue to encourage those who are experiencing issues in their tenancies to keep lines of communication open and if they still cannot resolve their dispute to contact the RTB for support and information on how to resolve these matters.
"We also want to highlight that further measures and the extension of temporary protections for those impacted by the pandemic were introduced by Government towards the end of last year. The Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies, Act 2020, enacted in December 2020 provides protections for tenants who are financially impacted by Covid-19, in rent arrears and at risk of losing their tenancy. It also introduced protections for landlords who have been financially impacted by Covid-19 as well as their tenant’s ability to pay rent.
"The Residential Tenancies Act 2020 introduced temporary protections for tenants where they cannot be made to leave their rental accommodation, except for limited circumstances, any time there are restrictions on travel outside a 5-kilometre radius of a person’s home. Currently, this protection will remain in place until at least 15th April 2021.
"For more information on these protections or supports available from the RTB, visit www.rtb.ie.”
The RTB Rent Index, which is compiled in conjunction with the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), is the authoritative report on the Irish rental market. It is based on actual rents paid on 19,287 private tenancies registered with the RTB in the quarter, which is made up of homes new to the rental sector, new tenancies in existing housing stock and renewals of existing tenancies.
In Q4 2020, eight counties had standardised average rents above €1,000 per month: Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kildare, Limerick, Louth, Meath, and Wicklow. Year-on-year the fastest growing rent in the fourth quarter of 2020, by county, was seen in County Longford (8.3%) and the county with the largest year-on-year decline in rents was Waterford (-13%).
The release of the Q4 2020 Rent Index also coincides with the launch of the RTB’s Research and Data Hub. A key element in supporting and developing a well-functioning rental sector is the provision of data and research and a core strategic priority for the RTB is to use evidence and data to foster a better understanding of the rental sector. The RTB Research and Data Hub is the home for important rental data and statistics and will grow over time. The Hub is interactive and will enable the public to access and download information on the rental sector easily and efficiently via the RTB website.
For anyone experiencing issues in their tenancies please visit www.rtb.ie for information on how to resolve issues and, if necessary, use the RTB’s free telephone mediation service on 0818 30 30 37. This is available to help both landlords and tenants resolve a dispute in a mutually beneficial manner and does not require people to leave their home.