Monday, 25 February 2013

Rise in residential rents in Dublin and Cork as a result of a shortage of new homes

Last Friday's Irish Examiner reported that "A shortage of new homes in Dublin and Cork has seen a surge in residential rents since January, the biggest in five years.

2013 got off to a strong start for Ireland’s residential lettings market, particularly in Dublin, according to property consultants Savills Ireland. With unprecedented demand for rental property, Savills say rents have started to increase in many areas and this pace looks set to continue. Rents in most parts of Dublin are now between 2-4%higher than they were a year ago with some developments seeing increases of up to 8% year on year. Savills Cork report a similar trend with rents up 5% in the greater Cork area. The Savills report mirrors the results of a new monitor of housing market activity, published yesterday by the Irish Banking Federation"
View Irish Examiner Article Here

Clarie Neary of Savills Ireland, “We’ve seen a higher rise in rents in the last month than at any time in the past 5 years and 2013 is likely to see rents continue to rise in prime areas of Dublin. The shortage of properties is exacerbating the problem and we believe that while many people are reluctant to buy, rents will continue to push up even further in these high demand areas.

Landlords have added up to 8% on rents on some schemes and we’ve had no difficult in renting them out to good quality tenants. Figures from show clearly the growth of Ireland’s rental market over the last few years - in Dublin 2012 there was 4,200 rental properties on the market compared to 5,400 in 2011 and 6,500 in 2009. On Nov 01st there were just 2,200 properties available in Dublin to rent.  Go to Savills- News Page Here

Meanwhile on the 11th February issued a press release saying "Rent inflation and the pull of cities" - 
The average national rent rose 2.2% during 2012, representing the first annual rise in rents since 2007, according to the latest Rental Report. The average rent nationwide in the final quarter of 2012 was €808, compared to €790 in late 2011.

The increase in rents is being driven by Ireland's largest cities. Rents in Dublin, Cork and Galway experienced their second consecutive year of growth, with annual rises of 6.4%, 1.8% and 2.3% respectively. The number of properties available to rent nationwide is also at its lowest since mid-2008.

Rents elsewhere continued to fall, with annual drops of 1.1% in Limerick city and 2.8% in Waterford. Average rents outside of the cities experienced their smallest annual decline since the start of 2008 but were still down by 1.1%.

Commenting on the report, Ronan Lyons, Economist with, said: "While much of the country is still dealing with a glut of properties from the bubble, it is increasingly evident that there is a shortage of rental properties on the market in urban areas, and in particular Dublin. This may be alleviated temporarily by stock currently held in NAMA coming on to the market, but ultimately Ireland's major cities will need to prevent future inflation in rents by planning for new construction."

Year-on-year change in rents - major cities, Q4 2012 Dublin: €1,089, up 4.9% Cork: €797, up 1.8% Galway: €780, up 2.3% Limerick: €638, down 1.1% Waterford: €597, down 2.8%.
Full Report Here 

Only just over a month to go before Deposit Regulation in Northern Ireland

On the 6th April 2007 new rules were introduced in England and Wales about the holding of rental deposits in the most popular form of tenancy - AST - Assured Shorthold Tenancies.Bascically deposits had to be registered and this was something that had been done in Australia for a while

So a new scheme was set up to protect tenancy deposits from being misappropriated and offers a free dispute resolution service in the event that landlords and tenants cannot agree over how the deposit is to be apportioned.

There are different ways to do this. First of all whereby the money lodged with a Government approved company-  The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) -It does not cost anything and is run by Computershare Operational Services.

Alternatively Landlords or  Agents can use one of two insurance based schemes - My Deposits and The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS).This is run by The Dispute Service.

My Deposits is a partnership between the National Landlords Association (NLA)and Hamilton Fraser Insurance. It has become very popular for private landlords, however with the insurance based schemes you do have to pay for each registration and re-registration and although the landlord ar agent holds the deposit, it can be more cost effective to use the scheme whereby the deposit is held by the Government approved organisation.

In July 2012 these new deposit rules were introduced by the Scottish Government. Again there are three choices of companies to use. The Letting Protection Service Scotland (LPS) again run by Computershare Investor Services PLC,  My Deposits Scotland - part of My Deposits for England and Wales and SafeDeposits Scotland - who hold the deposit as well. Some of their key services are provided by The Dispute Service.

Now from the 1st April 2013 it comes to Northern Ireland. There are a choice of four providers.

The Letting Protection Service Northern Ireland (The LPS Northern Ireland), run by Computershare Investor Services PLC which also operates The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), in England and Wales and The Letting Protection Service Scotland (The LPS Scotland).  According to their website they will also be starting an insurance based scheme at a later stage.

My deposits Northern Ireland which is run by the same organisation as My deposits in England and Wales and My deposits Scotland. This is an insurance based scheme.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Northern Ireland is a Belfast-based company which protects tenancy deposits for private tenancies and resolves disputes over their allocation in the event the landlord and tenant cannot agree. It is part of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS), that is run by The Dispute Service in England and Wales.

Capita -  Capita plc is the UK's leading provider of business process management are launching its new Tenancy Deposit Protection schemes in Northern Ireland and England and Wales on the 1st April 2013.  

If you require further information go to this page   at the Department of Social Development.

Finally if you are a Landlord or Tenant in Northern Ireland are looking for insurance pay a visit to the "Landlord and Tenant Insurance" page at Irish Property Insurance Here

We would like to receive your comments regarding thes new tenancy deposit regulations, so please contact us via this site.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Blue Insurances to create six new positions

Just picked up a message on the LinkedIn network from Ciaran Mulligan joint Managing Director of Blue Insurances

It appears according to a news release at Business & Finance that the award-winning Irish insurance broking firm, Blue Insurances Ltd, has just announced the creation of up to six new positions in their Dublin based office.

 This increase in staff numbers will strengthen their management team as they prepare for future international and domestic expansion.

The company has also announced a record 20% jump in turnover for 2012 compared with 2011. The turnover of the company has jumped from just over €15 million to just under €19 million.

All operations within the company are currently handled from their Dublin office and expansion into new areas, including home and motor, will require staff across numerous departments including call centre customer services, IT and management.

Originally focused on travel insurance, the company has expanded into other areas including, most recently, pet insurance and innovative gadget insurance, and plan to begin offering home and motor insurance this year with unique benefits and cover not currently available in the Irish market. The company is also planning an assault on the health insurance market in the coming months.
Blue Insurances is currently operating in the Irish, UK and Australian markets. The company is also preparing to launch in the Indian travel insurance market with Multitrip through underwriters TataAIG and are also eyeing up the US market following the acquisition of domain late last year.

Joint Managing Director Ciaran Mulligan says: "We are committed to delivering excellent quality both in terms of the products we offer and the service we provide to all of our customers in the Irish and UK markets and are delighted to be strengthening our team in both management and throughout the business. We are also looking forward to international expansion in new emerging markets". Source Business & Finance

They also have Car hire excess insurance under the Carhireexcess brand

To find out more about the range of insurance products in the Blue Insurance stable visit their page at the Irish Property Insurance+ site

Great memories of Renvyle House Hotel Co Galway

I have just received  Georgina Campbell's newsletter and one topic caught my eye. "Spring Breaks at Renvyle House Hotel - Co Galway - A wonderful place to visit at any age or any time, Renvyle House appeals to people with a yen for the rugged west of Ireland - and a love of the cosy contrasts you find indoors, where a snug conservatory provides an all-weather vantage point to admire the view, and dark beams, rug strewn floors and open fires cast their spell"

I have spent a couple of short breaks at Renvyle House Hotel. The first time must have been 1994 in July and the second time in June 2008. As Tripadvisor was certainly not about in 1994 and although it was set up in 2000, I did not add a review in 2008.

The ads in the Irish Times used to call it a "a stress free zone", they still advertise there, but not sure if it still has that name.

The first visit was very hot, in fact hot enough to sit outside after dinner, and what dinners they had as well. There is a great nine hole golf course, but mighty windy on there in June 2008. The owner's dog  (photo above) used to help people with their golf, hope the dog is still there as it was quite a character.

Talking of dogs, Renvyle House Hotel is a dog friendly hotel, however you should let them know when you book that you want to bring your four legged friend. Naturally they are not allowed in the public rooms, but are allowed in the grounds on a lead and share a very comfortable bedroom with you.

In 2008 the food was equally as good, the atmosphere fantastic and the only real fault was the swimming pool. It looks good, but for where the hotel is located in Connemara, Galway on the Atlantic coast - next stop America, it is rather cold there. Ideally it needs to be deeper, covered over and heated so it would be used a lot more. The full size snooker / billiard table is great too, however I hope they fixed the lights above it. 

If you are looking for a weekend break, mid week break and want great food, with beautiful gardens, tennis croquet, golf and a beach too, this is the place to go. You can also use it as a base for the local area including a visit to Kylemore Abbey (below left)
 So if you are planning a break this a great place to stay, but don't forget your travel insurance either. There is a great choice at the Irish Property Insurance+ site here

Monday, 11 February 2013

New Number Plate system in Ireland

13 can either be lucky or unlucky, so it has been all change in 2013 for the registration plate in Ireland. From now on, all new cars will have a different format registration plate.

The Irish Motor Industry changed the plate because of the seasonality of car sales in Ireland. 80% of new cars are sold in the first half of the year. The new number plate system will help spread car sales more evenly through the year.

A very useful video has been produced by The Society of the Irish Motor Industry that can be viewed below.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Winter Weather Travel Insurance Checklist - For Cover You Can Rely On

For anyone intending to hit the slopes this Ski Season, it is very important to make sure you have adequate travel insurance in place should something go wrong. Whilst checking online for the most competitive cover you should always check that the policy suits your needs. Basic things to look for include cover for Emergency Repatriation and Medical Expenses for injury or illness as well as cover for loss / damaged ski equipment. Also check that the policy you have provides cover for your intended ski activity as there may be certain extreme sports that are not covered such as heli-skiing.  

Costs relating to Ski incidents can be substantial, especially if Air Rescue is necessary. Flying you back to Ireland from Europe with a fractured hip can hit €10,000 and double that from North America.

Other costs for treatment include
France: Ski accident - slid on ice & hit a tree (fracture of L arm & femur) - €4,000
USA: Snowboarding accident – Fractured Tib & Fib - €39,000
Andorra: Ski lift accident - Fractured Hip - €12,000 offers cover for a wide range of activities, including Skiing, Snow Boarding, snow mobiling, and Off-Piste skiing except in unsafe areas. now offers European Annual cover including Ski cover starting from only €26.99 so it makes sense to take cover when prices won’t break the bank. In comparison with the VHI, customers can typically save up to 50% on the cost of Travel Insurance with For example the cost of a standard Worldwide Annual policy including Ski Cover for an Individual with the VHI is €76 compared with €35.99 from

Some of our top tips include:
• Keep a note of your travel policy number, emergency number and Ehic number on you, perhaps in your mobile phone. Make sure more than one person has these details if travelling in a group or as a family.
• Always abide by local rules on, for example, wearing helmets and dos and don'ts for pistes or snowboarding parks. Insurers have the right to withdraw cover if you have an accident when failing to follow local rules or skiing against local authoritative advice.
• Look after your ski equipment – if you leave it in an unattended vehicle, for example, it may mean you are uninsured, and if your equipment is stolen you need a police report in order to claim, and keep receipts where appropriate.
• If you have arranged your own holiday, rather than booking through a tour operator, check your cover is comprehensive enough for problems such as delayed departure or additional accommodation if you are unable to get home.
• When purchasing an annual policy, check if there is a limit on the winter sports cover – some may restrict it to, for example, 17 days each year.

Winter Travel Disruptions
With the arrival of the recent cold weather, Irish travellers have been given a reminder of the risk of Travel Disruption that can occur due to serious weather events around the world.  Joint Managing Director Ciaran Mulligan says “Travel Insurance varies greatly among different providers, people should always check to make sure they understand what they are covered for and what available options there are.

Our Travel Disruption cover which was brought about during the Volcanic Ash will provide cover for extended accommodation or additional travel expenses when a flight is cancelled where many other travel policies will not.” insurance policies include cover for Travel Delay after a 12 hour period, Missed Departure including missed connections, and Catastrophe Cover for new accommodation if you are forced to move accommodation as a result of an act of god. The company has also created a new additional cover, Travel Disruption Cover for the following situations including disruptions due to weather:

Travel Disruption includes      
1.       If your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 12 hours it covers additional accommodation and Travel costs up to €1,000. 
2.       If your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 12 hours then you can claim back up to €1,000 for irrecoverable unused Travel and Accommodation costs should you cancel.
3.       Claim back up to €1,000 for accommodation if you have to be moved from your current location OR cut your trip short OR if you were not able to travel and use your booked accommodation because of the Hurricane.
4.       Covers cancellation or curtailment charges if travelling to an area that the FCO have advised against travelling to or if they are recommending evacuation from the area.

Annual Multi Trip policies are available starting from €19.99 for European cover for an Individual with Private Health Insurance or Worldwide from €26.95. Additional Travel Disruption Cover is available from €9.99 on a Single Trip policy or €17 on an Annual policy.

Blue Insurances Ltd trading as is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Source: MS@ Blue Insurances- February 2013

See details of other Blue Insurances products, including more travel insurancecar hire excess insurance, gadget insurance, pet insurance and wedding insurance at Irish property insurance Here

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Irish Property Owners Association accuses the Government of “taxsault” or assault by taxation

The Irish Property Owner's Association issued two press releases in January. The second one on the 30th January caught the attention of The Irish Times property section on Thursday because as they put it the association has invented a new verb "to taxsault"

Here is the Press release "LANDLORDS “TAXSAULTED” BY GOVERNMENT - The Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA) have accused the Government of what they call “taxsault” – assault by taxation.

In a strongly worded letter to the 50 TDs and 21 Senators who are themselves private residential landlords, the IPOA said that there has been a “grave injustice” to the providers of private rental accommodation for 700,000 people.  “The litany of unfair taxation continues,” said IPOA Chairman, Stephen Faughnan. “Landlords are being required to pay the €200 tax on Non-Principal Private Residences in March, followed by a so far indeterminate Local Property Tax in July, followed again by a so far indeterminate amount of Water Charges next year.”
Mr. Faughnan said that Oireachtas Members have labelled the situation as “ludicrous” given that these are all expenses in the provision of private rental accommodation, and yet cannot be claimed as such against rental income.  “Minister Noonan told the Dáil that the property tax would be tax deductible, and then announced that it would be phased in.  Either it is a legitimate expense or it is not.  It is a bit like a woman saying she is a little bit pregnant, or like the familiar saying attributed to St. Augustine:  God, make me good – but not yet.  If it is a legitimate expense, it cannot be just phased in as if it is some concession.”
An IPOA analysis of Oireachtas Members from the last available Register of Interests (2011) showed that in the Dáil, there are 50 private landlords out of 165 Members (one vacancy) which represents 31% of Members.  Broken down, there are 30 in Fine Gael (including 8 Ministers), 5 in Labour (including 1 Minister), 9 in Fianna Fail, and 6 Independents. 
In the Seanad, there are 21 out of 60 Members, representing 35% which breaks down into 7 Fine Gael, 3 Labour, 7 Fianna Fail and 4 Independents."
A week earlier the first press release appeared:
"LANDLORDS WELCOME TAX DEDUCTIBLE PROPERTY TAX - The Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA) welcomed clarification from the Minister for Finance that the Local Property Tax, due to apply from the summer, will be a tax deductible expense from rental income.
“At last, there is some tangible recognition for landlords, who are providing an essential service in housing 20% of people in Ireland (700,000)”, said Stephen Faughnan, Chairman of the IPOA.  “However, we are concerned at the Minister’s suggestion that it will be introduced on a phased basis.”
Responding to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Deputy Finian McGrath (Independent, Dublin North-Central), the Minister said:  The Thornhill Group recommended that the Local Property Tax (LPT) paid in respect of a rented property should be deductible for income tax or corporation tax purposes, in a similar manner to commercial rates. This is not provided for in the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, but it is the intention of the Government to introduce such a provision on a phased basis.
The IPOA have been campaigning for all local service charges to be tax deductible and have questioned why the LPT provision would not be introduced at the same time as the new tax.  “It makes no sense to say that an expense, which is clearly a business expense, should be delayed in being allowed against rental income,” said Mr. Faughnan.  “Landlords have already been penalised by the refusal of expense status for the Household Charge and the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge, not to mention the refusal of expense status for 25 per cent of interest paid on borrowings. We hope the Minister will act speedily with this proposal.” Source IPOA
It is a great shame that the Government is not stating in legislation that tenants must pay for water, property tax etc as they do in countries like France and the UK and in the event of the landlord having to pay these taxes and charges the landlord gets full tax relief as an expense. If the landlord has to end up paying for water, it could cost the landlord a small fortune particularly as this service is on meter and tenants knowing that the landlord is paying might just leave the tap turned on unlike when he or she is paying for gas and electricity.