Wednesday, 8th May 2013
Threshold Welcomes PRTB Index as “Comprehensive & Accurate Source” of Information for Tenants, Landlords and Government
Threshold, the national housing charity, has welcomed the new rent index published today (08.05.13) by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) as the most comprehensive and accurate source of data on the private rented market.
The index, which shows rent levels throughout Ireland, is based on data collected from landlords registered with the PRTB. The index published today tracks trends in rent levels since 2007. From now on, the PRTB will publish its rent index on a quarterly basis.
Welcoming the new index, Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said it is a valuable source of information for tenants and landlords.
“The publication of this index is a very welcome move. This provides more accurate information on rent levels for the first time,” she said. “Up to now, we have been reliant on data from property websites to track trends in rent levels. Although useful, the information from such sites is based on the levels of rent being sought by landlords, as opposed to the levels of rent actually being received.
“Furthermore, property websites tend not to publish figures related to studio-style accommodation at the lowest end of the market. It is this part of the market where tenants face the greatest difficulty in sourcing affordable accommodation and where Threshold focuses our efforts to help vulnerable households.
“However, the rent index is only as good as the number of properties registered with the PRTB. In this respect, a recent Dublin City Council study of ‘flat land’ showed the level of registration may be as low as 40 per cent in some areas. It is Threshold’s experience that landlords who do not register with the PRTB are most likely to take top-up payments from tenants, thereby masking real rent levels. The PRTB has made progress recently in stepping up its activities to ensure all landlords are registered; however, more needs to be done,” she said.
The index will also be a useful tool in informing government policy, according to Threshold.
“Demand for rented accommodation has grown consistently in recent years with almost one in five people now living in the private rented sector. The result is that rents have remained buoyant despite the recession,” said Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of Threshold. “As anticipated, the PRTB index shows rents decreased by about 20 per cent at the beginning of the downturn but, since 2010, they have remained stubbornly high, while average house prices have fallen by up to 50 per cent.
“At the same time, the Department of Social Protection has slashed rent supplement levels by more than 25 per cent. The PRTB index shows that the Department’s strategy of seeking to bring down rents by reducing rent supplement payments has not worked. Instead, because rents have remained high, it is Threshold’s experience that many rent supplement tenants are being forced to make illegal ‘top-up’ payments to their landlords to keep a roof over their heads.
“The facts and figures contained in the PRTB index need to be taken on board by the Department of Social Protection. Rent Supplement levels are currently being reviewed by the Department and they must take note of the high rents being paid by tenants, especially in urban areas,” added Mr. Jordan.
Further information on Threshold is available at www.threshold.ie.