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Looking for the right rental property

AT LEAST a third of rented properties in Irish cities are failing to pass basic safety and quality inspections carried out by local authorities for the Department of the Environment.

There are up to 19,000 residential properties available to rent in Ireland, according to’s property report and rents have fallen by almost 25% since their peak in early 2008.

In Dublin city, 42% of rented accommodation failed its quality inspection. A total of 2,576 houses were inspected and 1,061 failed to meet regulations.

In Cork city, over a third of houses inspected failed to pass the test – 671 privately rented houses were visited.

A city council spokesman said a lack of ventilation was the main defect.

In Limerick city, a third of houses failed to meet Department of Environment regulations. The bulk of these failings, such as lack of fire blankets and emergency evacuation plan, were rectified by landlords on foot of an improvement notice but 8% of the failings were deemed serious and requiring a lot of structural work.

537 houses were inspected last year in Limerick city. Inspections followed complaints from the public and random inspection of those on the local authority data- base. A total of 12 properties were removed from the rent supplement scheme last year due to bad quality housing.

In the area of Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, 38% of rented accommodation failed to meet the standards last year.

Up to 925 houses were inspected and 352 failed the test. Of those who failed, 22% of them rectified the problems without improvement notices while 149 had notices served and then complied. A further 20% of landlords whose properties were substandard are still being followed up.

According to a spokesman for Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, lack of smoke alarms, fire blankets and inadequate ventilation were easily resolved but structural faults and dampness were more serious.

According to the Department of the Environment, when a landlord’s house fails inspection, a repairs letter is issued with a timeframe for compliance. If the dwelling still fails to comply after the expiration of the timeframe given, the council can initiate legal proceedings.

In the Fingal area, privately-rented properties are of a high standard, as the vast majority are new build properties. The council inspected 380 properties and over 95% passed inspection.

"Of the properties that failed the inspection, the vast majority failed due to non-provision of rent books. A small minority failed due to non-provision of appropriate fire equipment as set down under new regulations," a spokesman said.

The director of housing organisation Threshold, Bob Jordan, said standards introduced in 2008 are making a difference: "It does appear standards have improved hugely. We must also remember a quarter of the private rental stock was built since 2000. That all helps."
This story appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Monday, March 01, 2010

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Good News for potential office occupiers...

WITH OFFICE rents still falling because of weak demand and high vacancy rates, Dublin has moved from the 14th most expensive office location in the world to 17th, according to a new survey released by Lisney and its international partner Cushman Wakefield.

Total occupancy costs (rent plus taxes and service charges) for prime space in Dublin at the end of 2009 were €511 per sq m (€47.50 per sq ft) compared to €620 per sq m (€57.60 per sq ft) a year earlier.

Dublin estate agency, says take-up in 2009 was well down on previous years, vacancy levels reached a record high of 22.6 per cent and, according to the Lisney rental indices, prime rents fell by 36.5 per cent.

For occupiers this had been very good news with exceptional deals on offer. “We anticipate that 2010 will present further opportunities for occupiers seeking space. However, vacancy levels, particularly in good quality city centre offices, should start to fall,” says Nugent.

The survey showed that occupancy costs in all leading global cities fell during 2009, the first such worldwide decline since 2003. Dublin experienced the second biggest fall in Europe at -38 per cent, only trailing Kiev in Ukraine which fell by 50 per cent in 2009. The survey noted that even previously resilient office markets were affected, including London’s West End, which slipped by 25 per cent and Warsaw’s central business district which recorded a decline of 24 per cent.

In the rankings of the world’s most expensive office locations, the top three cities remained constant with Tokyo moving into first place from second with occupancy costs totalling €1,441 per sq m (€134 per sq ft); London’s West End moved from third to second place with costs of €1,220 per sq m (€113 per sq ft); while Hong Kong fell from first to third position with costs of some €1,207 per sq m (€112 per sq ft).

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