The history behind Dublin’s rental crisis
If you moved to Dublin in 2012 you would have experienced the Irish capital’s lowest rental prices since the bust of the Celtic Tiger economic boom in 2008/2009. This economic collapse directly effected accessibility of mortgages, and curbed residential property developments.
In 2009 the government looked at it’s disastrous bottom-line and went for private landlords by reducing mortgage-interest relief in the private rental sector to 75% from 100%. As a result private landlords have had a harder time making a profit or covering the mortgage over their rental properties.
An almost ingenious scheme was later launched whereby selected urban streets could receive a 100% tax relief on the cost of renovating spaces above shops. This failed without so much as a dull thud due to bureaucratic red tape, and too few areas being included in the opportunity. Dublin city center’s countless above-shop spaces remain empty or useless as a result.
Other government failings can be identified in older announcements (2005) of recent residential developments such as at Usher’s Quay where the developer wanted to build more than 100 apartments, but An Bord Pleanála imposed that this number be reduced. I’d love to meet the brain trust behind that fecking stupid decision.
In addition to the above, if that wasn’t enough – some landlords have exhibited zero motivation, or have completely failed to adhere to rules that would see properties maintained to habitable standards. There was a program designed to root out substandard (let’s just say absolute shit to be clear) private accommodation and the vast majority of inspected premises during the program completely failed. If you’re not surprised, just let that sink in.
The current rental crisis situation
Fast forward to 2017, and some renters who have held onto their leases over the years are enjoying slightly lower rental prices/increases than the extortion applied to new rental contracts. ‘Slightly lower’ is supposed to be a maximum 4% per annum increase, dictacted by law. But it is too often reported that the typical shortsighted Irish landlord does not follow this rule, and that most tenants do not feel they are empowered to question rental increases or ensure the rule is followed.
The Irish times recently suggested that the average rental prices in Dublin now surpass London.
As with everything in Ireland, a sense of humour is never too far away, and expat communities are having a sad but true laugh at the greediness of Dublin landlords:
The main causes of the Dublin rental crisis
Thank you Irish government. You’re fecking useless. Again. But also…
Feck you Airbnb!
There are more than five times more properties listed on Airbnb than on Dublin’s most popular property website, Daft.ie.
Like Uber, and other smartarse ‘disruptors’, Airbnb has no real conscience or ethical compass when it comes to turning things upside down to shake out a dirty dollar from the bottom of a barrel. But maybe you think it’s innovative thinking? But you’d be as ignorant as the venture capital investors behind these companies want you to be. Suggestion: Don’t have an accident in an Uber taxi because it will likely not have the appropriate insurance to cover your new spleen, and let’s hope your secured apartment block doesn’t get robbed after the security code details are handed to the thousandth random person courtesy of your neighbour’s Airbnb-ing.
Airbnb has thrived in Dublin while Hotels in the capital have long been an overpriced joke. Both in terms of quality and pricing, Dublin Hotel options are a disgrace, and Airbnb superficially represented a bright light in that regard, but this shouldn’t distract from the direct & horrible impacts on everyone else other than tourists, and greedy property owners.
The government has focused it’s efforts on private landlords with the aforementioned 4% increase restriction, but has to date mostly ignored or suggested it will examine something here or there, or somewhere and we’ll wait another few years before someone says something about the ramifications of Airbnb.
What you can expect of the rental market in the future
Unfortunately it’s very easily to speculate that little will improve over the next two years, if ever. There are too many examples where the cost of things in general never really goes backwards. Even after the global financial crisis, and the collapse of the Irish banks, the price of a pint of beer didn’t go down. In addition to this, over the last few years Ireland has enjoyed a lot of attention from internationals seeking opportunities. Yes, those multinational corporations like fecalbook and gobble aren’t helping either. While the rental crisis is causing internationals, and students huge problems, it’s pessimistically unlikely the government will make any real impactful changes as demand for basic affordable accommodation continues.
Sources from various Irish Times, Irish Independent articles, and from the experience of trying to exist in Dublin.