Leasing in Ireland – The True Cost of Being a Landlord
Despite public perception and high rents, the bottom line for landlords is rarely as clear-cut as popular opinion supposes. An immense of responsibility, paperwork, and costs is plenty to deter many from participating. For those considering leasing in Ireland, we have comprised an extensive list of costs, helping you provide the best value to your tenant while ensuring your costs are suitably maintained.
1. Lost Rent
Keeping costs low can be a priority for many landlords, but a breakeven point must be identified to detect when an empty rental income is operating at a loss. HomeHak’s Lease Calculator is designed to help you keep track of the multiple incomings and outgoings to locate the precise point of profit.
Unless you own the property in full, one of the highest costs to overcome is a monthly mortgage repayment, with an average interest rate on new mortgages in Ireland amounting to 2.79%, noticeably higher than the European average of 1.29% (D. Cassidy, Why mortgage rates in Ireland are so high, 2021). If every room in the house is leased or not, your mortgage will remain due as standard.
3. Pre/Post Letting Expenses
In order to provide the highest value to your tenants, it is necessary to ensure that upkeep expenses are incurred prior to and after a tenant has stayed. Any tenant will demonstrate signs of living, be it marks on painted walls, scrapes on floorboards, or just some well-worn couch cushions.
A landlord has the responsibility to provide well insulated and ventilated living conditions that are free from damp, as well as equipping sound structural and electrical integrity. These turnaround times should be kept to a minimum and a timely and efficient electrician, carpenter, or painter will prove invaluable.
4. PRTB Registration
The vast majority of landlords will find it necessary to register with the Private Residents Tenancy Board. Costing €90 per tenancy, this registration allows you listing on the national register of tenancies and is a requirement for any landlord.
Conventional home insurance will not cover you for rental activities and as a landlord, you are legally required to provide insurance for fire and public liability. Similarly to our Tenant’s Guide, you will find investing the time to source the best insurance a worthwhile return.
Managing a property is much more than just financially intensive; a significant amount of time is taken up dealing with issues, sourcing the correct tenant and other administrative responsibilities. In order to avoid these, as many as 87% of landlords find it worthwhile to outsource said responsibilities to estate agents…at a small fee of course (HomeLet Landlord Survey, 2015).
Estate agents will advertise your property, filter through the countless applications, and identify the best-suited applicants for your final approval. They will also collect rent on your behalf and act as the go-between for any queries big or small. Thus, providing you with a hassle-free experience ranging from 6.5% – 10% of rents (Estate Agents., Let.ie., 2021).
In addition to the direct fees mentioned above, there are legal and accounting fees. For every contract, application, and submission there will be a solicitor required to pore over and flag any potential issues, as well as bookkeeping and tax bills to meet.
7. Council Charges
Your tenant may directly deal with some fees depending on the agreement including rubbish, recycling, or other services such as gardening. However, if you will be managing these directly you need to consider these costs to appropriately offset them.
8. Maintenance & Repairs
Often the area of most debate, maintenance and repair charges can prove costly, just as they can be for any homeowner. Effective pre/post letting care will only provide you with so much cover throughout your tenant’s lease. Ultimately luck plays a factor and a corrupt socket may be as likely as a leaky roof, although both substantially differ in cost. How many tenants you have under your roof will impact these costs and recent data indicates this number is on the rise at 2.8 on average (Savills Ireland., Shifting Ownership in Ireland’s Private Rented Sector., 2017).
A close and trusted relationship with plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and general workhorses are worthy investments. A difficult cost to anticipate without the use of hindsight and precedent, it must nonetheless be considered when setting rents.
Before profits can be redirected, taxes need to be budgeted for. As with most taxes in Ireland what you pay is dependent on your personal circumstances. Net rental income is taxed at either 20% or 40% and due every year on the 31 October. Planning and organization will prove your best tools in minimizing the amount due. Keep every receipt!
Here is a list of expenses that you can offset against your taxable profits:
a) PRTB Registration of €90
b) Wear and Tear maintenance is deductible to the point where the property is in a livable standard, including furnishings and fittings, and essential repairs and maintenance
c) Advertising and Management Fees
d) Legal and Accounting Fees
e) Insurance premiums
Trust is one of the more critical and intangible considerations. It can either prove to be an invaluable asset or an endless liability. Your tenant will directly impact the costs you will incur, either directly or indirectly. Providing your tenant with the opportunity to invest themselves into their home will make them happier and therefore more likely to remain. Data would indicate that there is a trend towards longer-term tenancies. 25% of agreements now longer than 12 months, up from 15% in 2017 (Residential Tenancies Board., Rent Index., 2018).
Besides the exceptional cases of moving country or county, your tenant will continue to provide you with income as long as they are content with their conditions.
It may seem strange to see profit listed as a cost for landlords. However, when calculating a breakeven point, you must include a cost for the time and stress incurred. It is essential to appropriately research the target market. Guidelines indicate it is inadvisable for renters to pay more than 40% of their income on rent (EY DKM, Rent Affordability in the Irish Residential Market, 2018).
Being a landlord in Ireland can be a thankless job that is sometimes vilified. However, there is a vital service provided that supports the country and those living in it. Your unseen work and risk-balanced consistently will allow you to maintain a profit. Alongside, also allowing for good people to turn your property into a home.