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Executive Summary

A CSO Frontier Series Output- What is this?

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This report, 'The Rental Sector in Ireland 2021', analyses data on registered tenancies and property ownership in Ireland and provides new insights into the rental sector and in particular rental properties, landlords and tenants.

Under Housing for All: A New Housing Plan for Ireland, published in September 2021, the Government committed to introduce new protections for renters, to make affordable rental accommodation more accessible for people and to protect the health of tenants and improve comfort levels in rental homes. The suite of actions set out in the Plan aims to increase availability and affordability of housing, and to create a sustainable housing system into the future. Following discussions with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH), the CSO agreed to explore the potential of linking administrative data from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), Revenue and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, with CSO-held datasets to provide information on the Rental Sector in Ireland. The DHLGH and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) have worked in collaboration with the CSO on this report.

This integration of datasets is made possible by the use of the National Data Infrastructure (NDI). The core concept of the NDI involves the collection, maintenance and storage, on all public sector data holdings, of the associated PPSN, Eircode and Unique Business Identifier (UBI, to be developed) whenever they are relevant to Public Sector Body transactions with customers. What is needed to achieve this, in most cases, is collection of the PPSN and home Eircode in transactions with people, and the UBI and business Eircode in transactions with businesses. The NDI plays an integral part in facilitating the CSO to develop new and improved statistical products for the benefit of the citizen and policymakers. It also supports the development of targeted policy interventions in Public Sector Bodies. With the increased use of PPSNs and Eircodes further and more detailed analysis of the rental sector will be possible. 

This publication is categorised as a CSO Frontier Series Output. Particular care must be taken when interpreting the statistics in this release.

CSO Frontier Series may use new methods which are under development and/or data sources that may be incomplete, for example new administrative data sources. Publishing outputs under the Frontier Series allows the CSO to provide useful new information to users and get informed feedback on these new methods and outputs whilst at the same time making sure that that the limitations are well explained and understood.

In using the increasingly varied sources of data available, the CSO must ensure that we continue to protect and secure data. Our aim is to ensure that citizens can live in an informed society while at the same time ensuring adherence to all relevant data protection legislation.

For the purposes of this report a Rental is defined as an active tenancy registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). Rental properties, landlords and tenants are those associated with the active tenancy in the RTB dataset. Additional information is found by linking to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) Building Energy Rating (BER) dataset, the Revenue’s Local Property Tax (LPT) and PAYE Modernisation (PMOD) datasets and the Department of Social Protections (DSP) BOMi dataset.

Prior to reading this publication users should note some of the limitations in the data sources. Information on rental properties is obtained by linking address information with the BER and the Local LPT datasets. Limitations in the address matching process mean that not all addresses could be linked to an acceptable level of accuracy. For this report of the 385,583 individual rental properties that could be identified from the RTB data with an active tenancy in the period 2017 – 2021, 40.5% could be matched to a property with a BER assessment and 66.8% could be matched to the LPT.

The majority of the analysis on landlords within this publication focuses on household landlords, where the registered landlord is an individual or household rather than a company. Across the entire period 14.8% of household landlord records and 38.5% of tenant records could not be assigned a Protected Identifier Key (PIK). The ability to not assign a PIK means certain records cannot be linked to additional data sources and are not included in the report.

The RTB have recently launched a new online account and registration portal. This new system will improve data quality with the introduction of a verified account approach for individuals, companies and agents as well as full integration of Eircodes. This will further increase the potential for analysis using RTB datasets.

As well as the strict legal protections set out in the Statistics Act, 1993, and other existing regulations, we are committed to protecting individual privacy and all identifiable information from each of the data sources used in our analysis, such as name, date of birth and addresses, are removed before use and only anonymised statistical aggregates are produced. For further information on the data sources, linking procedures and limitations of this report, See Background Notes and Methodology 

Key Findings

Properties in the rental sector are most likely to have a BER rating of C. The proportion with an A rating is small although this has been increasing every year since 2017. See Rental Properties chapter, Figure 2.1.

Just under half of the rental properties have been constructed in the last 20 years but less than 5% have been built in the last ten years. See Rental Properties chapter, Figure 2.2.

The total floor area of rental properties is lowest in Dublin and particularly its inner city. However, the size of rental properties as a percentage of that for all properties is lowest elsewhere in the country. See Rental Properties chapter, Map 2.1, Map 2.2, Map 2.3 and Map 2.4.

Looking at different tenure types and population, the proportion of properties with A or B BER ratings is lowest for those in receipt of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) or Rent Supplement. See Rental Properties chapter Figure 2.5. 

Examining landlords of rental properties, we can see that the age-profile of landlords has been increasing with only 24.2% of landlords with tenancies in 2021 under 45 compared with 35.1% in 2017. See Landlords chapter, Figure 3.1.

Over two-fifths (43.7%) of landlords have employee income as their primary source of income. However, for landlords with over 20 rental tenancies almost three quarters (73.1%) had their residential rental income as their primary source of income. See Landlords chapter, Figure 3.3 and Figure 3.4.

About 60% of landlords had a total gross income - from all income sources - below €60,000 in 2019. There were 5.1% of landlords who had income over €200,000. See Landlords chapter, Figure 3.7.

Over half (50.5%) of landlords in 2019 had a rental income of less than €10,000 with about three in ten more receiving between €10,000 and €20,000 in rental income. Just over 1% received more than €100,000 in rental income. See Landlords chapter, Figure 3.9. 

The most common sector of employment for landlords is 'Human health & social Work Activities' where 12.3% of landlords are employed. This is a similar percentage as the full working population.  Financial & Real Estate accounted for 10.9% of landlords in employment, more than double the percentage of 4.9% for all those in employment. Almost a third (33.0%) of landlords with 20 or more tenancies work in this sector. See Landlords chapter, Figure 3.10 and Figure 3.11.

Rent as proportion of total disposable income is highest for tenants living in and around Dublin. Over a third of tenants (36.1%) living in Dublin City spend more than 35% of their disposable income on rent in 2019See Tenants chapter, Map 4.1, Map 4.2, Map 4.3 and Map 4.4.

Almost three-quarters (71%) of tenants have employee income as their primary source of income. Social Welfare (excluding pensions) is the next highest primary income source for tenants (20.6%). See Tenants chapter, Figure 4.2.

Link to all interactive tables for this publication: PxStat

Go to next chapter: Rental Properties