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Property

Winter 2011

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The magazine of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers

l a n o i s s e f P ro


Languedoc

Maurice Craig looks back with candour

Château development P15

Conservation pioneer hits 90 P8

Property Residential THE IRISH TIMES

Sales prices are to be published – but when? JACK FAGAN THERE HAS been a general welcome by the property industry to the Government plan to set up a database to record all residential and commercial property sales. The initiative, announced in the Renewed Programme for Government, comes after auctioneers were effectively forced to withhold information on house selling prices from May, 2008, following the intervention of the National Consumer Agency (NCA). Publication of private treaty sale prices could only take place with the consent of the seller and the buyer under the Data Protection Act. The NCA became involved after The Irish Times wrote to the Irish Auctioneers & Valuers Institute (IAVI) about price claims that were substantially above the actual agreed sales prices. The Renewed Programme for Government promises to amend the Data Protection Act to allow the publication of the sale price of property and “create and maintain a House Price Database in the Department of the Environment where details of residential and commercial property sales will be maintained for statistical purposes”. Aine Myler, president of the IAVI, yesterday welcomed the news but wondered what timeframe the Government had in mind. “What is not explicit in this statement is when the legislation will be changed and how accessible the register will be. As such we call on the Minister to ensure that the law is quickly amended and that everyone should have easily accessible, free on-line access to this information.” Mark FitzGerald, chief executive of the Sherry FitzGerald Group, questioned whether the DoE had the capacity to collect the information and analyse it on a monthly basis. Quarterly information was too historical for consumers, he said. As it would not be possible to collate information until sales were closed, he suggested that the contract date be included in the data provided. He said some citizens may genuinely view the change as an intrusion on their privacy. Fintan McNamara, chief executive of the IAVI said the move would give transparency to the market. “Everybody would know the correct facts not rumours. The current situation makes no sense and makes it difficult for buyers, sellers and agents to operate.”

www.irishtimes.com

Editor: Orna Mulcahy Phone: 01 675 8000

Fax: 01 675 8037

October 15, 2009

email: property@irishtimes.com

Sex and the City-style penthouse

PRINCELY REGENCY

A chance to live over the shops in a penthouse apartment by St Stephen’s Green appeals to Rosemary Mac Cabe. Trouble is, it’s short on wardrobe space

Elegant and discreet in Sandymount

A

PENTHOUSE is the ultimate sign of high-flying achievement. It must be – otherwise why would they feature so prominently in the annals of television and movie history? Like plastic surgery, regular manicures and embossed business cards, owning a penthouse means you’ve really made it. But who’s buying penthouses in these straitened times? Not very many people, one might imagine, but selling agent Owen Reilly of Owen Reilly Property Consultants says there’s still a market: “People are definitely waiting until they find a property that ticks all of their boxes – this property has space, location, light, style and it will be sold, I would imagine, to a high-flier.” He names the legal profession as one in which buyers are to be found. So where better to demonstrate this against-the-odds success than at the top of Grafton Street, in a penthouse apartment directly across from the St Stephen’s Green centre, above Zara and H&M and within a stone’s throw of, well, everything? Number One Clarendon Row is a rooftop development of four bright, airy, penthouse apartments – and number 3 is up for grabs at ¤895,000. While this could hardly be considered a steal, it could have gone for upwards of ¤1.5 million at the height of the boom. The rental opportunities are good; approximately ¤3,000 a month wouldn’t be impossible, says Reilly. With the apartment comes a parking space accessed by the niftiest of parking lifts (not for the claustrophobic, but at least your apartment will compensate for that), wooden floors, solid wood doors and a fully fitted kitchen with a range of slick silver Neff appliances. That said, it doesn’t feel like an apartment in which a whole lot of cooking will be done. Entertaining? Yes. Cocktail mixing? Definitely. Cooking casseroles while the baby dozes in the stroller? Perhaps not. First impressions of the 125sq m (1,345sq ft) apartment – a good size with a large, spacious hallway – suggest that the rest of the apartment will be equally roomy. But bedrooms are modestly sized and, along with two en suite bathrooms and a separate one for visitors, there’s not a whole lot more to it. It’s in the living area that this penthouse comes into its own – a huge, open space with floor-to-ceiling windows that face out onto the Stephen’s Green centre, it is full of light and gives the appearance of being very airy. But, man, is it hot. Almost stiflingly

Page 6

HOOF IT TO PADDOCKS

Price drops in Adamstown, Rathfarnham Page 12

FOOD FOR FREE Rosemary Mac Cabe on the balcony of a penthouse apartment overlooking South King Street near St Stephen’s Green, D2. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

so, on a fine day – and while that may not be a problem one would ordinarily take into account when purchasing anywhere on our fine island, walking into the livingroom on a sunny October afternoon was akin to walking into a cooling oven. Sliding doors at the front of the livingroom – a large, wide space with a kitchen against the back wall, complete with a long breakfast (lunch, cocktail) bar – open onto a spacious balcony, nine metres long and wide enough for a table and a few chairs. This is the perfect venue for some post-work aperitifs before heading out on the town, or, indeed, for a break from shopping, where you can unload some bags and regroup for the second wave. While the view to the southeast is sub-

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lime – straight down the north side of St Stephen’s Green towards Merrion Row – the vista directly opposite the balcony is of the shopping centre itself, reams of glass and metal struts that, for an architect, might look like heaven but, for the young professional, could get tiresome. But, oh, the geography! There is no possible location that could be more central, and really, that’s what this property is about. Right in the heart of Dublin’s shopping district, this would be the perfect launch pad from which to plan an assault on Grafton Street’s fashion possibilities. But are young, fashionable women really the prime candidates for this apartment? Somehow, I think not. While the Sex and the City comparisons may well be

Would you like to come and see my new apartment? Oh, yes, didn’t I mention? It’s right above Zara

enough to convince even the most sceptical young career woman (with ¤895,000 to spare) to take the plunge, this apartment screams young bachelor at the top of its bright, airy, lungs. Modestly-sized bedroom? Well, that’d be a man, then, without the need for extra wardrobe space or a sit-down area for make-up application. A man who’d be perfectly happy to set up a widescreen television, Xbox and cocktail cabinet and invite the guys over for a few games of Texas Hold ’em in the new pad. Then out on the town to chat up some soon-to-be-impressed young ladies. “Would you like to come and see my new apartment? Oh, yes, didn’t I mention? It’s right above Zara . . .” Now that’s a line worth trying.

Go foraging in mother nature’s pantry Page 11

Doing the sums on living in your holiday home abroad

Isabel Morton - page 7

70% ALRE ADY SOLD

From €235,000 €295,000 €365,000 €375,000

New styles opening for the first time this week. View to appreciate today 2-4pm; Saturday and Sunday 2-4pm.

www.dalriadahomes.ie

THE IRISH TIMES irishtimes.com

ENERGY RATING B1, B2, B3


Welcome

Dear Member Welcome to the Winter 2011 edition of the Property Professional. The year was another extremely difficult one and is not one that will have many positive memories for most members. However, the year did end on a positive note with a Budget which is at least a step in the right direction in helping to create some incentives for the property industry. IPAV can be proud for the part it played in lobbying against proposals contained in the last Budget to remove Section 23 and other reliefs, a move that would have created even further financial difficulties for many hard-pressed property owners and investors. The property Professional is the Magazine of the Institute of Professional Auctioneers & Valuers 129 Lower Baggot Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 6785685 Fax: 01 6762890 E-mail: info@ipav.ie Website: www.ipav.ie CEI Website: www.web-cei.com

The increase in mortgage interest relief for both first and non-first time buyers in 2012 should help to kick-start the housing market to some extent as should the Capital Gains incentive for those who invest in the market before the end of 2013. But all the Budget incentives will come to nought if the main stumbling block to the property industry is not removed, namely the non-availability of credit from the financial institutions. Unless the Government forces to banks to rethink their strategy and provide finance on reasonable terms to good quality customers the industry will continue to stagnate. Despite the current recession, the Institute itself had a very successful year when a large percentage of members attended a wide range of courses and seminars from which they will profit when the market finally recovers, as it will. Finally, I would like to thank the staff and lecturers for their work during the year and you the members for your ongoing support. Nollaig Shona agus AthbhlĂ­ain faoi Mhaise do chĂĄch.

Chief Executive Officer Fintan McNamara M.Litt. Dip. L.S. MIPAV(HON) Editor Tim Ryan Tim Ryan Communications Tel: 01 679 0380 Advertising & Design Designroom info@designroom.ie Tel: 01 615 4715 Publisher Designroom www.designroom.ie

Property Professional Winter 2011 Views expressed by contributors or correspondents are not necessarily those of IPAV or the publisher and neither IPAV nor the publisher accept any responsibility for them.

Fintan McNamara Chief Executive

Contents Budget 2012 Property Services Regulatory Bill

page 4-7 page 9

CPD Seminars

page 10-12

Launch of OnView.ie

page 13-15

IPAV Submission to Oireachtas

page 16-17

Meet Ella Dunphy

page 20-21

Focus on Central London

page 22-23 Winter Issue | page 1


President’s Message

Message from the President The end of another year approaches as again time seems to have flown extremely quickly during the past 12 months. Despite the ongoing crisis facing the economy and the property industry in particular, 2011 was a special year for us on one level as IPAV celebrated its 40th anniversary, a proud achievement indeed for an organisation that started from very humble beginnings in 1971. However, on the ground 2011 was again a very, very difficult year for all members and there is no denying but it will be some time yet before the general economic uncertainty disappears and the property industry begins to recover. The economic crisis has now become a trans-European one and Ireland is unfortunately reliant on the eurozone countries being able to find a long-term solution before there can be any realistic improvements in the domestic economy. Ironically, unlike many of our fellow EU Member States, the fundamentals of the Irish economy are very sound and exports, for example, which help to drive growth, continue to thrive. The single biggest factor inhibiting the recovery of the property market in Ireland is the ongoing lack of credit from the financial institutions. As a result the market is entirely reliant on cash-rich customers who are limited on the ground or first-time buyers in very secure and pensionable employment. From the beginning it was always a condition of the bail-out terms for the banks that they would make a reasonable amount of credit available but to date this has not happened. This lack of action by the financial institutions will continue to be IPAV’s Number One priority as we enter 2012. Despite the gloom, IPAV had a very active and positive programme of activities during 2011. In my first address to members at our AGM in Ballyconnell, I promised to work tirelessly on behalf of members and to do all in my power to improve their lot during my term of office. During the Autumn I was delighted to attend our three CPD Seminars held in Portlaoise, Cork and Galway and to meet many old and new friends. Apart from the very worthwhile content of the lectures, the opportunity to network among colleagues and to build up new contacts is a very important part of the life of the property professional. Two further seminars, including a Rural Affairs Seminar, will take place in the Spring of 2012 and details will be circulated to members early in the New Year. The CPD seminars are all the more important given the very recent passage of the new Property Services Regulatory Bill through the Oireachtas. This new Act is likely to be given its commencement order by the Minster for Justice & Defence very shortly and our understanding from the Regulator is that managing agents will be the first to be licensed around March 2012. All existing licence holders will have their licences renewed next July by the Regulator when the new regime will come fully into place. While IPAV has long argued that there is no particular demand for this legislation given the current lack of activity in the market, we will nevertheless abide by the new regime and we will seek to keep members informed of developments in the New Year. This Autumn also saw the introduction of new one-day Valuation courses for members and these have proved very successful. It is my belief that all members should attend these course and during 2012 we will be organising a further series so that all members can have access to them. A key highlight of the year for IPAV was the launch on Tuesday, November 8 in Galway of the Institute’s own property website www.onview.ie . This is a project which IPAV has been working on for a long time and I was delighted to see it come to fruition. You have already received details about the site in the post and elsewhere and I would urge all members to promote it as best they can in the course of the coming months. With our huge data base of members, IPAV is uniquely placed to provide a user-friendly website to the public where there is simple and easy access to property across the 26 counties. Finally, at this time of year I wish to thank the National Council, the staff at our Head Office and all our members nationwide for their ongoing support. I wish you all a very Peaceful Christmas and a Prosperous 2012. Le gach dea ghuí

Padraig Smith President Winter Issue | page 2


Budget 2012

Budget will help to restore confidence in Property Industry A number of incentives contained in Budget 2012 should help rebuild confidence in the property industry, IPAV has stated. In particular, IPAV Chief Executive Fintan McNamara welcomed the increase in mortgage interest relief for first-time buyers from 15% to 25% and for non first-time buyers from 10% to 15%. He also said the removal of Capital Gains Tax for property purchased between now and the end of 2013 would provide an additional incentive to would-be investors who provide valuable accommodation to tenants who would otherwise be on local

authority housing lists. However, he cautioned that the Budget incentives would only work if they were accompanied by the freeing up of capital by the lending institutions. “Unless the Government’s announcements are matched by immediate and real actions by the banks in providing credit, they will prove of very little value,” he said. “I am now calling on the Government to insist that the banks follow up on the incentives announced.” Mr McNamara said the reduction in the rate of Stamp Duty for commercial

property transfers from 6% to a flat rate of 2% should help to provide an incentive to this market which has been languishing for the past three years. Mr McNamara expressed concern at the additional imposition of the new €100 household levy on all non-principal private residences which are already subject to a €200 levy. “The size of this levy on any particular building needs to be capped as a matter of urgency as otherwise it will continue to drive investors out of the market,” he added.

Property “train wreck” averted. By Paul Gartlan, IPAV National Council member IPAV has claimed credit for persuading the Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to bin the proposed scrapping of Section 23 property reliefs in Budget 2012. The Fianna Fail Government announced the changes in Budget 2011. This meant that owners of Section 23 type properties would see the value of these properties drastically reduced as the tax allowances would only be allowed against the rent from these properties and not as before which was against all rental income. The allowances were then to end years earlier than agreed, thereby adding to the hardship. Many ordinary working people had purchased these properties as a way of creating a supplement to their pensions and were over many years enticed by the Government with the introduction of these tax reliefs to purchase in areas that they would not previously have thought about. The Government received huge benefits with these allowances as the private sector took up the offer and provided many thousands of new rented properties in areas of the country where they most needed and in cleaning up many parts of the capital which were

Winter Issue | page 4

crumbling for decades due to lack of capital expenditure. That this agreement could be swept aside in a budget and throw many thousands of investors into being unable to pay their loans was thought by the IPAV to be the most unfair budget proposal on property ever to be introduced in this country and they embarked upon a campaign to have it appealed. Following phone calls and meetings, the Department of Finance agreed to have the proposal reviewed and when they invited written submissions IPAV responded and explained the huge difficulties that the withdrawal of the reliefs would bring to investors across the private and public sector. IPAV also published an open letter to the Minister for Finance published in all the national papers for people to cut out, sign and post to the Minister. This letter was also sent to all 800 members of the IPAV to distribute to their clients and put extra pressure on the Minister to have this proposal scrapped. This seems to have been the tipping point and IPAV has welcomed the Minister’s

announcement and his understanding of the harm this would have brought to the already fragile property market. IPAV has also welcomed the positive changes to the mortgage reliefs for first time buyers and those who bought at the height of the boom years as a boost to the housing market which should help kick start home sales next year. Also welcomed were the changes to the rate of Stamp Duty on commercial properties which has been reduced from 6% to 2% and the changes to the Capital Gains Tax rates where those purchasing commercial properties and holding them for more than seven years will have no CGT to pay. This should see increased activity in this important sector of the property market and bring renewed interest from pension and property funds. IPAV has been asking for the last four years for positive measures to be introduced to help the property market and now believes that the changes in Budget 2012 are a positive first step in bringing stability to the market and hopefully will start the process of turning it around.


Budget 2012

BUDGET 2012 The following are the principal items of note relevant to the property industry and agriculture contained in Budget 2012: 1. Reliefs Mortgage Interest Relief • First time buyers in 2012 will get mortgage interest relief at a rate of 25 per cent rather than the 15 per cent proposed by the previous Government • Non-first time buyers in 2012 will benefit from relief at 15 per cent instead of the reduced rate of 10 per cent proposed by the last Government. • Mortgage interest relief will no longer be available to house purchasers who purchase after the end of 2012 and will be fully abolished from 2018.

2. Measures relating to property-based ‘legacy’reliefs These measures will apply to the various property-based tax relief schemes in the following manner: Section 23-type Reliefs and Accelerated Capital Allowances A surcharge will be introduced effective from 1 January 2012 on individuals with gross incomes over €100,000. The surcharge will apply at a rate of 5% on the amount of income sheltered by property reliefs in a given year. This surcharge (essentially a higher rate of USC) will apply to all investors regardless of whether they invested in Section 23 or accelerated capital allowance schemes with this level of gross income. Residential owner-occupier relief is unaffected by these changes. Accelerated Capital Allowances Investors in accelerated capital allowance schemes will no longer be able to use any capital allowances beyond the tax life of the particular scheme where that tax life ends after 1 January 2015. Where the tax life of a scheme has ended before 1 January 2015 no carry forward of allowances into 2015 will be allowed.

The current Group A tax-free threshold is being reduced from €332,084 to €250,000 (from ten times to 7.5 times the Group B threshold). This reduction applies in respect of gifts or inheritances taken after 6 December 2011.

6. Capital Gains Tax The current rate of 25% is being increased to 30%. This increase applies in respect of disposals made after 6 December 2011. A new incentive relief from CGT is being introduced for the first seven years of ownership for properties bought between Budget night and the end of 2013, where the property is held for more than seven years. Where such property is held for more than seven years the gains accrued in that period will not attract CGT. This measure comes into effect after 6 December 2011.

7. Upward only rent reviews It has not proved possible to develop a targeted scheme to tackle this issue that would not be vulnerable to legal challenge or require compensation to be paid to landlords. This is a matter of particular interest to NAMA who have to deal with the problems caused by upward only rent reviews which apply to NAMA properties. NAMA has a policy guidance for dealing with tenants’ difficulties arising from upward only rent reviews which they have published. The NAMA policy guidance provides an opportunity for NAMA to approve rent reductions where it can be shown that rents are in excess of the current market levels and viability is threatened. The policy also provides for the appointment of an independent valuation of market rent where necessary. Where a tenant is not getting satisfaction in negotiations with his NAMA landlord, he can contact NAMA directly and any queries will be dealt with speedily by them.

8. Capital allowances and Tax Incentive Schemes

A household charge of €100, to fund vital local services, in line with the requirement in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland, is being introduced in 2012. The charge which will raise some €160m per annum is an interim measure pending design and implementation of a full property tax, which will apply in 2014.

Renewable energy generation The qualifying period for the scheme of tax relief for corporate investment in certain renewable energy projects is being extended from 31 December 2011 to 31 December 2014. The purpose of the scheme is to encourage investment in renewable energy projects and to facilitate the growth of electricity generation capacity using these sources. To qualify for the relief the energy project must be approved by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and be in one of the following categories of technology: Solar Wind Hydro (including ocean, wave or tidal energy) Biomass

5. Capital Acquisitions Tax

9. VAT

The current rate of 25% is being increased to 30%. This increase applies in respect of gifts or inheritances taken after 6 December 2011. 

Increase in standard VAT rate from 21 per cent to 23 per cent The standard rate of VAT will be increased by 2 percentage points from 21 to 23 per cent with effect from 1 January 2012. This increase will apply to all goods and services which are currently subject to VAT at 21 per cent.

3. Stamp Duty Transfers of non-residential property Abolition of multiple Stamp Duty rates for non-residential properties, replaced with a single rate of 2% in respect of instruments executed after 6 December 2011. Consanguinity relief on transfers of non-residential properties to be retained for intra-family transfers to end2014. Abolished after 1 January 2015.

4. Household Charge

VAT rate on district heating reduced from 21% to 13.5% The VAT rate applicable to district heating will be reduced from 21% to 13.5% in the Finance Bill, following consultation with the EU Commission. This will bring district heating in line with the majority of energy supplies that are subject to 13.5%. This measure also promotes energy efficiency and provides cost reduction solutions for business. Admissions to open farms to apply at the 9% reduced rate Following changes at EU level, admissions to open farms will become liable to VAT from 1 January 2012. Consistent with the recent VAT reduction in respect of the tourist industry, the rate of VAT on admissions to open farms will apply at the reduced rate of 9%.

10. Farmer Taxation Stock Relief for Registered Farm Partnerships An enhanced 50% stock relief (100% for certain young trained farmers) for registered farm partnerships is being introduced and will run until 31 December 2015 subject to clearance with the European Commission under State Aid rules. Measures to incentivise timely farm transfers Full retirement relief from CGT for intra-family transfers will be maintained for individuals aged 55 to 66. An upper limit of €3m on retirement relief for business and farming assets disposed of within the family is introduced where the individual transferring the assets is aged over 66 years. This will incentivise earlier transfer of farms. (The current unlimited amount applies for a transitional period of two years for individuals currently aged 66 or who reach that age before 31 December 2013.) The current upper limit of €750,000 for assets transferred outside the family for individuals aged between 55 and 66 years will be maintained. The upper limit for retirement relief for business and farming assets transferred outside the family is reduced from €750,000 to €500,000 for individuals aged over 66 years. (The current upper limit of €750,000 applies for a transitional period of two years for individuals currently aged 66 or who reach that age before 31 December 2013.) Full details of these measures will be set out in the Finance Bill. Extension of the existing VAT Refund Order for flat-rate farmers to include a refund on the purchase of wind turbines. The existing VAT refund order, which provides for the refund of VAT paid by un-registered farmers on the construction of farm buildings, fencing, drainage and reclamation of farm land, will be amended to provide that such farmers may claim a refund on wind turbines purchased from

1 January 2012. This change is part of a series of measures aimed at assisting and promoting the farming community.

11. Property Registration Authority Rigorously review of every area of expenditure.

Winter Issue | page 5


Budget 2012

Budget 2012 a step in the right direction By Jim Power, economist

Economic background to Budget 2012 The economic and financial background to Budget 2012 was once again very challenging. Unfortunately 2011 turned out to be another difficult year for the economy. Coming into 2011, the ongoing gradual recovery in the international economy was a source of optimism for Ireland, but as the year progressed the global economy lost considerable momentum as the ongoing impact of the sub-prime crisis that erupted in 2007 continued to bear down on credit conditions, and many countries also struggled under the weight of excessive government debt levels, and a loss of market confidence in the ability of many countries to service their debt. In the second half of the year, the Euro Zone debt crisis became the dominant theme and as we move into 2012 it is clear that the survival of the EMU project in its current form has become very high risk and its future is in the balance. It will require strong political decisions to restore market confidence in the currency and ensure its survival. Domestically, the export side of the economy held up well, with annual growth of 4.1 per cent in merchandise exports in the first three quarters of the year. However, domestic demand remained very flat, with consumer confidence and spending remaining weak, while business investment spending was constrained by a total credit squeeze in a still dysfunctional banking system.

Property related measures in Budget 2012 In relation to the property market, a number of measures have been introduced to try to stimulate activity levels. The commercial market in particular is currently paralysed, which is not in the best interests of tax revenues and the job of NAMA. The key measures include: • A reduction in Stamp Duty on all nonresidential property, including farmland as well as commercial and industrial buildings, transactions from 6 per cent

Winter Issue | page 6

to 2 per cent. This may stimulate foreign interest in the commercial property market, particularly as more certainty has been created in relation to Upward Only Rent Reviews. This is recognition of legal realities. However, NAMA will have the opportunity to approve rent reductions where it can be shown that rents are in excess of the current market levels and where viability is threatened. The new policy also applies for the appointment of an independent valuation of market rent where necessary. These changes may just make it somewhat easier to shift some of its vast property portfolio. • There is no change to Stamp Duty on residential property transactions. • Properties bought between midnight on December 6th and the end of 2013 and which are held for a period of seven years will be exempt from CGT. • Mortgage Interest Relief is being increased to 30 per cent for those who bought homes between 2004 and 2008. Mortgage interest Relief will not be available for those who buy a house after the end of 2012 and will be fully abolished from 2018. For those who wish to buy a house in 2012, Mortgage Interest Relief will be given at a rate of 25 per cent rather than 15 per cent and non-first time buyers will benefit from relief at 15 per cent instead of 10 per cent. • A property relief surcharge of 5 per cent will be imposed on investors with an annual gross income over €100,000. Reliefs for Section 23 type investors will not be restricted for investors with an annual gross income under €100,000. • An announcement to deal with mortgage arrears will be made in the near future. • A household charge of €100 is being imposed on most primary residences and this €100 will be applied on all non-primary residences which are already subject to a €200 levy. These measures will not in themselves lift the property market out of its current state of weakness, but the measures are a step in the right direction, and the likelihood of further ECB rate cuts will also help to some extent.

The housing market preBudget 2012 All indicators of housing activity remained very weak in 2011 and are still showing no signs of recovery, or indeed stabilisation. • House completions in 2010 totalled 14,602, down from 26,420 in 2009. In the first nine months of 2011, completions totalled 7,917, which is 26.4 per cent lower than the first nine months of 2010. • New home registrations totalled 1,680 in 2010, down from 3,743 in 2009. In the first nine months of 2011, registrations totalled just 625, which represents a decline of 57.7 per cent on the first nine months of 2011. • New home commencements totalled 6,371 in 2010, down from 8,604 in 2009. In the first nine months of 2011, there were 3,662 commencements, a decline of 32.4 per cent on the first nine months of 2010. • CSO data on planning permissions show that in the first half of 2011, planning permissions were granted for 6,977 dwelling units, which represents a decline of 35.9 per cent on the first half of 2010. • House prices continue to decline, and the pace of decline is accelerating. National average house prices fell by 2.2 per cent during October and were 15.1 per cent lower than a year earlier. National average prices have declined by 45.4 per cent from peak. The fall has been more severe in the apartment market. The other indices published by the CSO give some insight into the variation by sub-market. The CSO index indicates that the various segments of the market attained their peak at different stages during 2007.

The Mortgage Market Total mortgage lending in the third quarter reached €623 million, which is almost 50 per cent of the level achieved in the third quarter of last year. In the first nine months of the year a total of €1.82 billion was lent for mortgages purposes, compared to €3.76 billion in the same period last year. It now appears that total mortgage lending for the full year will be around €2.3 billion. This compares to total lending of €39.9 billion at the peak of the boom in 2006.


Budget 2012 These numbers are staggeringly weak and suggest that the market is effectively dead. The banks could well argue that this is due to the lack of demand for mortgages from a suffering and pretty downbeat populace, but some demand does exist but the banks are quite simply not in the business of lending. There will be no stabilisation and certainly no recovery in the housing market until banks start to lend again.

Value of Mortgage Market Drawdowns MARKET SEGMENT

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

Q1-Q3 ’11

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

First Time Buyer

7,717

8,448

7,250

4,833

2,671

2,037

799

Mover Purchaser

10,359

11,368

8,687

5,572

2,355

1,539

668

Residential Investment Letting

6,283

7,950

6,512

4,096

798

216

56

Re-Mortgage

5,038

6,067

6,675

5,295

1,129

461

142

Top-Up

4,717

6,039

4,684

3,253

1,123

493

159

Total Drawdowns

34,114

39,872

33,808

23,049

8,076

4,746

1,824

Overall Assessment of Housing Market It is clear from all available evidence that the housing and mortgage market still remains very weak and is still not showing any signs of stabilizing. In relation to housing demand, a significant scarcity of adequate credit availability, more expensive credit where available and low levels of buyer confidence due to a variety of economic and financial factors are hampering demand. On the supply side, there is still serious excess supply in components of the marketplace, although there is marked evidence of scarcity in established areas in Dublin in particular. The lack of mortgage credit is the biggest issue. While there is excess supply in the market, official data suggest that it is not as

great as previously believed and there is a likelihood that some shortages could start to emerge in some areas over the next couple of years. However, against a background of credit scarcity for both developers and potential house buyers, and shattered levels of confidence, supply will not be forthcoming for at least the next couple of years. The fundamentals of the housing and mortgage market are still weak and are unlikely to get significantly better in the short term. The impact of NAMA on the market in terms of fire-sale prices, general sales activities and the completion of unfinished estates will have a fundamental bearing on the market into the mediumterm.

Make sure you have all your properties OnView.ie Ireland’s Property website by Ireland’s Property Professionals Winter Issue | page 7


News

IPAV Courses The third of IPAV’s Valuation courses took place at IPAV Head Office on Saturday, November 5, when a total of 27 members attended the daylong session which was given by Valuation experts Keith Craddock and Emma Leonard. The next session takes place at the same venue on Saturday, January 28, 2012. Members interested in attending should register now with IPAV. Telephone: 01 678 5685 or email: info@ipav.ie

IPAV CEO Fintan McNamara with some of the attendance at the weekend Course for Property Professionals held in IPAV Head Office, 129 Lower Baggot St on November 18 & 19.

Some of the participants who attended IPAV’s Valuation Seminar held at 129 Lower Baggot St on Saturday, November 5, with lecturers Keith Craddock and Emma Leonard and IPAV CEO Fintan McNamara

IPAV’s Weekend Course for Property Professionals took place also at IPAV Head Office on the weekend of November 18 and 19 when mature students attended an intense course of lectures on topics including the Property Services Regulatory Bill and other relevant legislation, the operation of the PRTB, taxation, commercial leases and current requirements in the private rented sector.

Minister Hogan publishes Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D., published the Water Services (Amendment) Bill 2011 in early November and it is currently being debated in the Houses of the Oireachtas. The Bill provides for a registration and inspection system for septic tanks which is required to address a European Court of Justice ruling against Ireland. “The Water Services (Amendment) Bill provides for a proportionate and risk-based approach to inspections of septic tanks. It is intended that inspections would be targeted to areas where drinking water sources or habitats are likely to be, or have been, impacted upon. The risk-based approach is intended to minimise the impact on householders and the likelihood is that inspections under the new system will commence in 2013” the Minister said.

y All householders with septic tanks and other on-site systems will be required to register details of their system with the relevant local authority and a national register will be compiled and held by the EPA. y Householders will be required to pay a modest registration fee (a fee of no more than €50 is envisaged). y Following the initial registration, householders will not be required to re-register their systems for several years – an interval of 5 years is envisaged between each registration. y The revenue generated will be used to fund the delivery of a national inspection plan which will be developed by the EPA and its roll-out will be managed by the local authorities. y While inspections will be concentrated on areas with higher risk to the environment and public health, they will also be carried out in lower risk areas but at a lower rate.

Ireland is facing a potential lump sum fine of €2.6 million as well as daily fines of €26k for as long as non-compliance continues. The Minister said that he intended to have the legislation enacted as a matter of priority.

y Inspections may give rise to householders being advised to improve the maintenance of their systems or, in more serious situations, may require the upgrading or remediation of the treatment system.

“If we do not comply with the ECJ ruling in a timely manner Ireland will be the subject of significant fines by the Court so it is my intention to proceed with the legislation without delay. I look forward to debating the Bill with my Oireachtas colleagues and I hope to have the legislation enacted as early as possible.”

“While the majority of septic tanks may be working well, and in those cases the householders should have nothing to worry about, those tanks that are not working properly may be polluting groundwater and contaminating our drinking water supplies and must be remediated. The key objective of the new legislation is to enhance and protect public health and the environment which will, in turn, benefit rural dwellers in terms of a better quality of life and better quality water,” the Minister concluded.

The Minister gave a summary of the key features of the Bill, as follows:

Winter Issue | page 8


News

Property Services Regulatory Bill finally passes into law By Tim Ryan, Editor, the Property Professional The Property Services Regulatory Bill, 2009, which regulates all agents working in the property industry, has passed all stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas and will shortly be signed into law. In his concluding remarks on Tuesday, November 22, the Minister for Justice & Defence, Alan Shatter said many of the amendments made on Committee and Report Stages were designed to introduce much needed transparency to the residential and commercial property markets in line with a commitment given in the Programme for Government. “Publication of residential property sales prices and the establishment and maintenance of the commercial leases database by the Property Services Regulatory Authority will help to restore much needed confidence to the property market,” he said. “Together with the new statutory requirement on auctioneers to publish a realistic ‘Advised Market Value’ of property for sale rather than using the discredited ‘Guide Price” mechanism, the legislation will serve to enhance consumer protection and improve consumer confidence,” he said. With regard to the new licensing arrangements, a number of regulations specifying the required eligibility standards in relation to education and training and professional indemnity insurance will have to be made by the National Property Services Regulatory Authority. In the meantime, the existing licences of auctioneers and letting agents remain valid until 30 June next. He continued: “However, property management agents are not subject to any licensing arrangement. I expect, therefore, that the Authority will give immediate priority to the introduction of much needed standards in this segment of the property services sector. New licensing requirements for such agents will complement the provisions of the Multi-Unit Development Act 2011 which entered into force early this year and enhance protection levels for apartment owners.”

Potential conflict of interest During the final debate on the Bill – which lasted less than 20 minutes - the Minister introduced a small number of amendments, notably in relation to possible conflict of interest where an auctioneer promotes an apparently attractive loan package to intending purchasers without revealing that the financial institution providing the loan has already funded the development or is prepared to do so where the property is being sold from the plans. “This conflict of interest can arise, in particular, in the case of multi-unit developments where a particular financial institution has links with the developer and seeks to reduce its exposure to risk by assembling what appears to be an attractive loan package for intending purchasers,” he said. Purchasers who avail of the package may end up paying over the odds for the property. Amendment No. 8 addresses the issue by inserting a new section 60 which will ensure transparency in such cases and thereby improve consumer protection.”

The legislation prohibits a licensee from providing information, advice Property Regulator or assistance concerning a lending Tom Lynch institution’s willingness to provide a mortgage for a purchaser of residential property unless the vendor - in other words, the builder or developer - has advised the licensee whether that lending institution has provided or intends to provide a loan for the development or construction of the property. The licensee must then inform the purchaser whether the lending institution has been involved in funding the development. This provision will apply to persons who develop or build residential properties on a commercial basis and not to private persons selling their own homes. The Act also allows for the making of regulations by the Minister for Justice and Equality to exclude other specified classes of vendors from the requirements. Minister Shatter added that the Minster for Finance is proposing to enhance the powers of the Central Bank to ensure the interests of consumers are further protected when mortgage credit is being provided in the Central Bank (Supervision and Enforcement) Bill 2011 which is currently before the Dáil.

Commercial leases In relation to a database of commercial leases, the Minister said it was envisaged that the commercial leases database would only contain information on leases entered into on or after the commencement of the Act. Having considered the matter, he believed it would be in the public interest if certain basic information was also to be made available on commercial leases which have been entered into in the past. “In the case of commercial leases, I am proposing that the database will only apply to leases which have been entered into within the last five years,” he said. “The reason for this is that, in the rent review context, the most useful information is that which relates to open market lettings at the time of the review date. Thus, while access to some past information may be useful in terms of assessing emerging trends, that information will have little direct bearing on the level of rent to be fixed in current circumstances.” The public information on past leases will be that information which is made available to the Regulatory by the Revenue Commissioners, he said. It would include the address of the commercial property concerned, the date of the lease, the term of years of the lease and the rent payable. That would ensure that there was generally more information made available on the level of rental payments being made than is the case, and there would be more information made available than was originally envisaged in the Bill, as first published.

Winter Issue | page 9


CPD Seminars

CPD Seminars

Paddy Flynn, Galway Real Estate; Des Moloney, New Ross and Brendan Corrigan, Longford at the Galway Seminar

Billy Biggane, Charleville and Desmond Daly, Kanturk at the Portlaoise Seminar

Large attendance at CPD Seminars There was a large attendance of IPAV members at this Autumn’s CPD Seminars which were organised as part of the Institute’s ongoing education programme for existing members. The Seminars were held in Portlaoise (October 4), Cork (October 18) and Galway (November 8). Topics covered included the Multi-Unit Development (MUD) Act, Health & Safety regulations and ongoing developments in the property industry.

IPAV CEO Fintan McNamara with Pat Winters, Winters Property Management at the Galway CPD Seminar

Each seminar was opened by IPAV President Padraig Smith and updates on the property industry were given by IPAV CEO Fintan McNamara. To date participation in the programme is voluntary but it is expected that CPD will become compulsory within a short time of the new Regulatory Bill being passed by the Dáil. This Bill recently completed all Stages in the Houses of the Oireachtas and will shortly be signed into law.

Pictured at the Cork CPD Seminar were (l – r): Ernest Parker, Tom Pollard and Karen Pollard all of Tom Pollard Properties, Emmet Street, Clonmel.

In order to qualify for a CPD certificate, each IPAV member taking part in the programme is required to have a minimum of 5 CPD points during the seven months from October of this year until the end of April 2012. Attendance at the afternoon session of the Annual Conference in Galway on April 28 next will also qualify for CPD points.

Alan Browne, Murray Browne Auctioneers & Valuers, South Mall Cork (left) and John Barry, Keane, Mahony Smith, Grand Parade, Cork at the Cork Seminar

Each IPAV Seminar attended by a member carries 2 CPD points. Evidence of attendance must be signed by the member and counter-signed by the IPAV CEO or by a person designated by him. IPAV is organising two more Seminars in Spring, 2012 and details will shortly be posted to members. One will take place in the NorthEast and one in the South-East. Certificates will be posted next May to all those who have successfully completed the course.

Winter Issue | page 10

IPAV President Padraig Smith with former President John Shaw, Limerick and Noel Corcoran, Tipperary Town at the Cork Seminar


CPD Seminars

CPD Seminars

Maura Fenlon, CPM Carlow & Nora Meaney Sherry Fitzgerald McDermott, Carlow at the Portlaoise Seminar

Michael Liston, Newcastlewest and Brian Lohan, Shannon were at the CPD Seminar in Galway.

Jim Gaynor, Portlaoise makes a point

Cork IPAV member Roy Dennehy, Dennehy Auctioneers, Carrigaline with Malcolm Cotter, Fountainstown pictured at the Cork Seminar.

At the Cork CPD Seminar were (l – r): Roy Lee, Lee Property, Bandon with William Hunter and Mattie Korac of Davis Hunter Auctioneers, Washington St., Cork

John Gill, Ballinlough, Co Roscommon with John Callaghan, Castlerea at the Galway CPD Seminar

Winter Issue | page 11


CPD Seminars

CPD Seminars A section of the audience at the Portlaoise Seminar

IPAV President Padraig Smith with Matthew Barrett, Portlaoise

Pictured at the Galway Seminar were (l – r): Brian McMahon, Ennis; Richie Flynn, Sixmilebridge and John Casey, Lisdoonvarna.

Winter Issue | page 12

Paul Mooney, Vice-Chairman of the Irish Property Facility Managers Association addressing the Portlaoise Seminar

Tim Ryan, Sherry FitzGerald Ryan, Tipperary Town (left) and John Phelan, Harry Brann Auctioneers, Killaloe were at the Portlaoise Seminar


OnView.ie Launch!

It’s new – and it’s OnView.ie!

A brand new Irish property website portal, www.onview.ie has been launched by IPAV. The website, which aims to be the most comprehensive and up-to-date Irish property portal, will cover all property transactions including residential sales and lettings, commercial sales and lettings and land sales. OnView.ie is the first Irish property website to feature a section dedicated to upcoming Auctions, which will list details of all upcoming Auctions by IPAV members throughout Ireland. The portal will be used initially by the IPAV’s 400 plus member firms nationwide who cover all 26 counties in the Republic. In addition, the site will carry out regular polls among visitors to the site on issues of topical interest. The new portal was officially launched by RTE personality Hector O’Heochagáin at a function attended by almost 100 IPAV members in the Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Galway on Tuesday, November 8th. “Our objective is to provide the public with immediate comprehensive listings of available property throughout Ireland,” said IPAV Spokesman Martin O’Mahony. “By selecting a property advertised on this website, you can be assured of the highest standards of professional conduct from the listing Agent and this is guaranteed by IPAV. On View.ie provides its members and the public with the first property listings point for available property in Ireland.”

Make sure you have all your properties OnView.ie

He added: “Onview.ie provides a very effective and cost-efficient method for Auctioneers and Letting Agents to advertise their properties.. The website is userfriendly and the name is very memorable.” Details about the new website have already been posted to members and they will receive regular updates in the weeks and months ahead.

Ireland’s Property website by Ireland’s Property Professionals

Winter Issue | page 13


OnView.ie Launch!

Launch of www.OnView.ie

Winter Issue | page 14


OnView.ie Launch!

Winter Issue | page 15


IPAV Submission

IPAV submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Heritage & Local Government Below is a summary of a submission made to the Committee on the Environment, Heritage & Local Government by IPAV Chief Executive, Fintan McNamara in October. PRTB published figures indicate that 171,067 landlords have signed up with the PRTB (only 17,000 landlords under 1996 regulations registered 29,000 units with the local authorities). The total number of registered tenancies is c. 251,130 and the total number of tenants registered is 536,651. These figures are subject to fluctuation It was anticipated during the deliberations at the Rented Housing Commission, the body which framed the recommendations for the Residential Tenancies Act, 2004 - in which I participated - that approx 10% of tenancies would present on an annual basis for dispute resolution. However, the reality is that, since the establishment of the PRTB, the total number of disputes lodged is only a fraction of that figure. The number of applications for dispute resolution is as little as 2% of all tenancies. In point of fact, the Private Rented Sector in Ireland, like its European counterpart, is a much happier place than is commonly realised with over 90% of tenancies trouble free. Successive surveys, including one carried out by the PRTB on students, attest to this.

Private rented sector regulation Moreover, the private rented sector in Ireland is one of the most regulated in Western Europe. There has been a raft of regulation including standards legislation since the mid-nineties and over 100,000 local authority inspections of private rented units. On top of that, the sector has improved both in quality and quantity, with a 100% increase on the 81,000 private rented units available in 1991. Current statistics indicate that 59% of disputes lodged with the PRTB are by tenants and 72% of these relate to deposit retention. Adjudicators and Tribunals have broadly determined that, in the majority of cases the landlord was justified in withholding the entire or part of the security deposit which, in many instances, did not cover his/her losses. This is broadly in line with the pattern currently prevailing in the UK Custodial Deposit scheme. A suggestion that all rental deposits should be forwarded to the PRTB is a disproportionate response to the problem and would generate even more expensive and unnecessary bureaucracy. It would, to all intents and purposes, be using a sledge hammer to crack a nut. It has to be noted that the UK scheme operates free of charge to landlords and tenants and, moreover, there is no expensive compulsory registration of landlords and tenancies.

Winter Issue | page 16

It must also be noted that, while only 250,000 of an estimated one million UK landlords have signed up to this free custodial deposit scheme which was made compulsory in May 2007, there has been a massively higher compliance rate among landlords in Ireland with the PRTB registration requirements. The scheme incidentally has so far cost the British taxpayer £12 million. Apart from the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, a custodial deposit scheme exists nowhere else in the world and in these jurisdictions there is no overarching housing court along the lines of the Irish PRTB. Furthermore, there is every indication that, despite the existence of a custodial deposit scheme, there is no indication that the level of disputes arising from deposit retention arises any less frequently in these jurisdictions than in Ireland. The reality is that in a business of this nature, deposit retention goes with the territory. However, disputes in relation to deposit retention are unacceptably high and greater awareness of their obligations in relation to deposits needs to be fostered among landlords and agents.

Recommendations If Ireland is to have a custodial deposit scheme as in the UK, I recommend that we scrap the current expensive compulsory registration system. However, I recognise that in a small rental market such as Ireland’s this may be financially unviable. A more practical idea would be the imposition of fines on the tiny number of landlords who wilfully withhold entire deposits without any justification. There should be a requirement to register with the PRTB no more frequently than once in four years for an appropriate fee to ensure it is adequately resourced. A simplified system and the resulting savings on staff resources could then be directed to the core function of dispute resolution. Section 86 of the RTA should be amended to provide for emergency tribunals to fastback disputes in cases where tenants deliberately abuse the process and break the law by refusing to pay rent in contravention of the Act , while continuing to live in a dwelling for unacceptably extended periods.

‘Notice of Termination’ The RTA is littered with references to the ‘Notice of Termination’ procedures which render the process very complicated. Even experienced legal practitioners have failed to adhere to the required procedures when drafting and serving such notices.


IPAV Submission

The extensive cross referencing required to ensure a ‘Notice of Termination’ is valid makes it even more fraught with peril. The process of terminating a tenancy needs to be greatly simplified. Furthermore, adjudicators /tribunals should have the power to order vexatious tenants to vacate a dwelling where the circumstances so warrant, even where a termination notice is invalidly served.

The €200 property levy should amount to no more than €600 in older, converted pre ‘63 style houses that provide comfortable accommodation for HSE assisted tenants, some with disabilities. The availability of affordable units housing the 30,000 single people on rent assistance has been dwindling steadily and will now contract further. Indeed, there is every likelihood that this category of tenant will be seriously disadvantaged in future in terms of their accommodation requirements because of current, short sighted government policy.

Galway IPAV member wins entitlement to fees A Tuam-based auctioneer was awarded over €3,000 in fees for a house he didn’t sell – although he successfully argued that he had negotiated a sale for the property that he was commissioned to dispose of. The Connacht Tribune recently reported that IPAV Auctioneer John Joyce from Tuam sued two property developers who had suffered the effects of the downturn in the economy. Tuam District Court was told that they built three houses at Brooklodge Demesne, Balyglunin and while one of the houses sold for €345,000 during the height of the boom, the house that was the subject of this civil action had an offer of €155,000.

The auctioneer explained that the sellers wanted €220,000 for the house but he thought that this was more than they would achieve and advised them to reduce their asking price. He said the house needed about €40,000 work and he was also anxious to ensure that the purchaser had her finances in place before accepting a deposit on the property and that this accounted for the delay in issuing the sale advice notice to the sellers. He told the court that after he got a text from Thomas Hynes accepting the offer of €155,000, he received a subsequent text from the defendant telling him that Shane Crisham had rejected this offer and had obtained a higher one from another auctioneer.

John Joyce told the court that this offer was accepted by property developers Thomas Hynes and Shane Crisham but this was refuted by the defendants who said that the house was sold by a rival auctioneer for €160,000.

Thomas Hynes in evidence said that he, along with Shane Crisham, had built three houses and had sold one of them. They were selling houses numbers 1 and 3 and had engaged “a few auctioneers” to do this on their behalf.

The court was told that at the end of March 2010, they entered into a six month agreement with John Joyce that he would be the sole agent for the property. John Joyce found a buyer for the property the following October and informed Thomas Hynes of the offer. Joyce said he had received a text back from Mr Hynes accepting the offer and thanking him for his efforts.

He said that they had engaged John Joyce to be their sole agent for six months from the end of March 2010 to the end of September. He said that Joyce had come up with an offer but denied that he had accepted this as he had to consult with his partner in the development.

The auctioneer said that he then received a subsequent text informing him that Shane Crisham was not happy with the price for the house and that a better offer had come in. Joyce said that he had fulfilled his duties although he did admit that his sale advice notice was issued just days after the six month arrangement between him and the defendants had expired – he said that he was waiting on the purchaser to ensure that she had her finances in order.

Valid contract After hearing the case Judge Geoffrey Browne ruled that there had been a valid contract between Joyce and the two defendants, despite the advice notice being issued a couple of days after the arrangement and awarded the auctioneer a decree of €3,101 for his fees for negotiating the sale of the property along with his legal costs. John Joyce told the court that he was asked to sell one of the three houses in the development and that it was on the agreement that he would be the sole agent for the property. He told solicitor Tom O’Donoghue that he was also asked to sell the third property in the small estate if he had an interested party.

In the meantime, auctioneer Ronan Long had come up with a higher offer and they accepted this. “I asked John Joyce to try and sell house number three and he told me where to put it,” he told the court. He said Ronan Long had been engaged to sell the house before John Joyce. He also said that the money from the sale went to the banks and that they had paid the successful auctioneer his fees. Auctioneer Ronan Long said he had taken instructions from Shane Crisham in June 2009 to sell both number one and number three by private treaty. He said that the woman who had paid a deposit to Mr Joyce had also contacted him about the houses. He said he had advertised the property and in September 2010 he received a call from an interested party who was willing to pay €160,000 and took a deposit form this person on the instruction of the sellers. The property was then sold for this price. Shane Crisham said that he had no dealings with John Joyce and was not aware of the offer he had. He said that they tried several auctioneers in an effort to sell the properties. However, Judge Browne ruled in favour of John Joyce saying that there was a valid contract in place and awarded him his fees.

Winter Issue | page 17


News

Facility Management Association seeks major changes in commercial rates billing system In order to avail of the refund, the property must be unoccupied at the date of striking the rate. However, the rates must be paid in full before a refund can be claimed in January of the following year. The amount of the refund varies between Local Authorities. Refunds of 50% for the vacant periods are available in Dublin, Limerick and Cork, while 100% refunds are available throughout the rest of the country. The following is a list of property types that are excluded from commercial rates:Pictured at the National Annual Conference of the Irish Property & Facility Management Association, ‘Building Solutions for a Changing World’, in Croke Park Conference Centre were (l - r): Fintan McNamara, Chief Executive, IPAV; Paul Whelan, Chairman, IPFMA and John Curtin, President, Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

The current billing system for commercial rates on commercial property is placing an onerous burden on landlords and tenants alike, according to the Irish Property Facility Management Association (IPFMA). In a recent submission to the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government , the Association said that, following discussions with their members, it believed that some simple measures could be introduced to relieve this burden and assist property owners and tenants without adversely affecting the income derived from the collection of commercial rates. “We trust that you will appreciate that all commercial, retail and industrial owners and occupiers are simply trying to survive in a market where all property related costs impact significantly on their bottom line,” the submission states. “In order to facilitate and support businesses in Ireland, both landlord and tenant have had to be flexible in relation to the collection and costs related to rent and service charges. In a significant number of cases, lease terms have been re-negotiated to support the occupiers business and to assist them during a period where turnover has decreased significantly.” The IPFMA submission states that they believe the same approach should be taken by local authorities in relation to commercial rates, which would result in less business closures and in turn less vacant units, resulting in higher commercial rates revenue for Local Authorities. They also supported the objectives of the Irish Employers for Affordable Rates (IEAR) and particularly their proposal to establish a review group representative of experts and all affected interests to examine the present rates structure, examine alternatives, including international practice and report back within six months with recommendations for a fairer system.

Commercial Rates Refunds: Currently vacant properties are rated whether they are occupied or vacant. However, vacant properties are eligible for a refund in certain circumstances, where:y the owner is bona fide unable to obtain a suitable tenant, or y for the purpose of the execution of additions, alterations or repairs thereto Winter Issue | page 18

y State properties, including political constituency offices, y Agricultural and horticultural land and buildings, y Properties used exclusively for care or hospital or medical purposes which are publicly run and not-for-profit, y Land and buildings used for educational purposes which are publicly run and not-for-profit, y Publicly funded museums and theatres, y Buildings occupied by charitable organisations, and y Community halls

IPFMA Recommendation The IPFMA submission recommends that the provision which states that the rates must be paid in full before a refund can be claimed in January the following year should be removed. Refunds should be made available upon satisfactory evidence that the premises are unoccupied. “The provision which states that a property must be vacant at the date of striking the rate should be removed, and above refunds should be available as and from the date that the premises is unoccupied. The rate of relief should be standardised at 100% as no financial benefit is gained by the owner of a vacant property.”

Collection of Commercial Rates: Rates are collected in two moieties, the first falling within 2-4 weeks of the striking of the rate and the second normally in the second week of July. The submission states that the options available for the collection of rates by local authorities vary depending on the local authorities To assist commercial businesses and to increase cash flow within the local authorities, the submission recommends that the payment options be standardised for all local authorities. “While we appreciate that options are available from local authorities in respect of the payment of rates, we would recommend that these options are clearly set out on the rates bill itself and that Standing Orders are available from all local authorities. There is no reason why commercial rates could not be paid by Direct Debit or Standing Order monthly in advance. This would ease occupier cash flow problems created by having to pay two large sums during each 12 month period,” the submission concludes.


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Member Focus

Meet the Kilkenny Ipav Member who blazed a trail for women in the estate agency profession By Tim Ryan, Editor, the Property Professional It’s not every mother in IPAV who gets to caddy for her daughter in a serious golfing competition but this has been the privilege of Kilkenny City Estate Agent Ella Dunphy who runs DNG Ella Dunphy on the City’s Ormonde St. Ella is the proud mum of her sporting daughter, Orla, a top class golfer, who plays off a handicap of three! Shortly Orla, the youngest of the four Dunphy children, will qualify as a physiotherapist in the UK. Orla has been on the Irish Girls panel and won Ella Dunphy both All-Ireland and Leinster titles with her school and with her home club, Kilkenny Golf Club. While Ella Dunphy attributes her decision to set up her own Estate Agency business in Kilkenny city primarily to her keen interest in property, she was also in a position to utilize her own vast network of social contacts which had been established through being actively involved in both Kilkenny Lawn Tennis Club and Kilkenny Golf Club. Ella was born on a dairy farm in South Kilkenny, which her brother continues to run. Although living on the outskirts of the city for many years, she still loves rural life and the pursuit of rural activities. Having left school, she studied in WIT in Waterford for two years and went on to work for a number of years with Albatros Fertilizers Ltd. in New Ross, and then with ACC Bank in Kilkenny. In 1979 she married Pat Dunphy who was actively involved with Kilkenny’s GAA and who has subsequently held the positions of Treasurer, Secretary and is the current Vice-Chairman of Kilkenny GAA County Board. At this time, Ella took the decision to remain at home and become a full-time Mum to her four children which is something she prides herself in having had the opportunity to do. However, like all good multi-taskers, Ella was able to juggle family life with her well earned breaks which were mostly spent in Kilkenny Lawn Tennis Club, playing competitively for her club.

Goodwill “Networking with so many people in different areas of sport and other social activities meant that I got to know the business people of Kilkenny City, and more importantly, they got to know me,” says Ella. “It was amazing to receive so much goodwill and help, which was key to getting a successful business up and running.” With her children almost reared, Ella returned to WIT once more in 2000, this time to study the IPAV Auctioneering course, and then she continued to undertake a number of other business-related courses. “Because it was professionally run I found the IPAV course extremely helpful. It covered every aspect of the business and there was a network of support from other prospective business people which was really useful as it provided me with the confidence to get started,” she says. Looking back now Ella is surprised at how brave and indeed bold she was in throwing herself into the deep end and challenging the other more established auctioneers in the City. “I think I had four properties for sale and four to let on the day I opened,” she says. “But with the aforementioned goodwill from friends and colleagues around the city and county, within a short few days, the displays in the window were growing rapidly. I think there was also a great excitement as I was the first woman to open her own auctioneering business.” Without Ella knowing it the Celtic Tiger era was about to unleash itself on the Irish property industry and within two years Ella was employing a staff of six and running a very busy office. “The whole business snowballed and I think I was working day and night in those early years as business came in from all quarters. We were inundated with viewings of new houses, sales and so on - it was an incredible period but it was so exciting.” Sales of new housing estates became the order of the day and the taking of deposits of up to 20 houses in a day was not uncommon at times.

DNG Franchise After three years of trading successfully, Ella was approached by Doughlas Newman Good, offering her their DNG franchise in Kilkenny City, which is something she feels helped to progress her business even further and take it to a new level. “Getting the DNG franchise taught me the importance of branding in the estate agency profession,” she says. “There is value in a brand. It gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the crowd. Also, the back-up facilities, by way of training and seminars, were and still are immensely valuable to me in keeping up to date with developments in the industry. It also allowed me to extend my network of contacts to a nationwide level.” Ella and Orla Dunphy Winter Issue | page 20


Member Focus

A sign of the times, she says is that a large part of her work these days comes from valuations, sales and lettings with a large amount of Receivership work which is likely to continue. “It’s a new area of activity and one which nobody predicted as recently as two or three years ago.” Ella is very proud of her membership of IPAV and the benefits it confers to her.

The year 2008 saw the recession hit the country and the property industry in particular and Kilkenny was no exception. Ella feels this gave her an opportunity to reflect on her business and expand it in innovative ways. A positive that came out of the downturn for DNG Ella Dunphy was the decision of her third son Ciarán, who had just finished in UCD, to join the business. He brought a fresh approach and a different type of positivity and enthusiasm to the business as DNG Ella Dunphy branched into Facilities/ Block Management and updated their office with new IT systems to manage their ever growing Property Management and Lettings division. Today, DNG Ella Dunphy is a family-run business, with Ella’s husband Pat, who is a successful and well established Mortgage and Investment Broker now operating his own business under the same roof. “We are still a very busy office but these days everybody does everything as the need arises,” she says. “We are flexible in our approach to work as you have to be in a business like ours.” While Ella was quick to branch out into the residential and commercial Lettings market and Property Management, she felt it was extremely important that she became a member of a regulatory body and has become a member of the Irish Property Management Association (IPFMA).

“I am proud to be a member of a regulatory body like IPAV,” she says. “Anybody involved in a profession should be a member of a relevant professional body for the benefits it bestows.” Both herself and Ciarán enjoy the regular CPD seminars and they both avail of every opportunity to upskill when IPAV organise their additional study days. Ella is also a regular attendee at IPAV’s AGM and Annual Conference and is also one of the group of female golfers who take part in the annual Irish Examiner golf outing where she puts many of the male members through their paces.” Outside of work, Ella still finds time for keeping an eye on her four children: Eoin, currently working as a Management Consultant with Deloitte, Conor, a Quantity Surveyor in Doha, Qatar (a sign of the times), Ciarán who works in DNG Ella Dunphy and Orla who will be a qualified physiotherapist in 2012. Ella is also an active member of the Kilkenny Gospel Choir which rehearses weekly. “I find the Wednesday night sessions very refreshing and therapeutic and an ideal chance to get away from the day-to-day stresses of work,” she says. But above all she loves her work as an Estate Agent. “After 11 years in the business I look forward to coming into my office every morning and to whatever challenges each day brings,” she says, “Regrets? I have no regrets and look forward to continuing to grow my business and meet whatever challenges this economic uncertainty brings, head-on.”

“Currently, there is an obvious increase in sales transactions”, she says, “and these have increased in recent months as both vendors and purchasers have now become accustomed to more realistic prices. If the valuation is correct the property will definitely sell.” However, the lack of liquidity in the market is still an obvious problem, “These days a typical suburban three-bed semi which would have fetched up to €350,000 in the Celtic Tiger era is selling for €175,000, a 50 per cent drop.”

Correct value “As long as people are made aware of and understand the correct value of property at this time there will be a transaction,” she says. The market is generally dominated by cash customers and those trading up or down. Ella is of the view that while the market may not have fully bottomed out yet, it is close, with a probable 10% to go. Then, from mid next year she predicts prices will stabilize but it is likely to be 2018 or beyond before the market experiences a growth period again. “As we all know, property goes in cycles and this one will turn upward in due course, as all previous cycles have”, she predicts.

Pat and Ciaran Dunphy

Winter Issue | page 21


Property Feature

Central London: An Olympic-sized property surge that’s nothing to do with 2012! Here is a heart-warming Christmas tale: the price of super-luxury property in Central London is due to continue its upward surge to top a whopping £10,000 a square foot by 2016 – though for that you get SAS protection thrown in, writes Peter Cluskey!

There was a time when cash-rich Irish investors were snapping up super-prime property all over London, landmark shopping centres, iconic hotels, well-established and sought-after residential developments. Many of those investors became over-extended and have since then bitten the dust – but that doesn’t mean they were wrong about everything. Not by a long chalk. It’s tempting to think that with the Irish economy clawing its way to the end of another terrible year, with Portugal, Greece, Italy, and potentially Spain, joining us in the EU–IMF “sin-bin”, and with the future of the euro looking increasingly dodgy, there’s no safe haven for property investors within, as the saying goes, “an ass’s roar” – but that’s not necessarily true either. Well-chosen London property is emerging this Christmas as the silver bullet investment that’s defying all trends and beating all dismal odds, with the price per square foot now a cool £7,500 –and confidently expected to top £10,000 by 2016, especially in that gilded enclave between the River Thames and Hyde Park, including Chelsea, South Kensington, Knightsbridge and Belgravia. Trending up like a rocket Just look at the growth in value over the past 11 or 12 years, trending upwards like a rocket despite occasional economic setbacks and showing no sign of stopping: 2000 - £1,000 a square foot 2004 - £2,000 a square foot 2006 - £3,000 a square foot 2009 - £5,000 a square foot 2011 - £7,500 a square foot The House & Home section of The Financial Times is always a good yardstick for what’s hot and what’s not, so it was fascinating to see that one ad last week for a landmark luxury apartment development between Chelsea Bridge and Sloane Square actually went to the trouble of including a little quick-reference map – showing crucial locations such as Harrods and Buckingham Palace. Another advertisement for a super-prime development at Pont Street in Knightsbridge, with prices starting at £4.5 million, declared: “Three magnificent 2 and 3 bedroom apartments within yards of Harrods …” The developments may change but it’s all about building on solid ground … location, location, location. But even the top of the market can do with a little help sometimes, and the area around Knightsbridge has received a significant boost over the past 12 months with the appearance of the four streamlined towers of One Hyde Park – 86 super-prime apartments in a development which is believed to be one of the top three most expensive pieces of residential real estate in the world.

Winter Issue | page 22

Buyers from Asia, the Middle-East and Russia Sixty-two of the 86 properties have already been sold, generating a record-breaking £1.4 billion, and although the names of the buyers are being heavily protected for security reasons, many of them are believed to come from Asia, the Middle East and Russia – where the regional economies have been largely unaffected by the banking meltdown which has afflicted the West. Each of the four towers has a penthouse apartment with an eye-watering sale tag of £100 million, and the others – which are modified to their new owners’ requirements – apparently average out at around £20 million each, or around £6,000 a square foot. The penthouses then push that average to around £7,500 a square foot, a price that has boosted the property market for miles in every direction. It will be clear by now that these are no ordinary apartments. Each will have a panic room in case its residents come under attack from kidnappers. Each tower has an emergency exit that leads by way of underground tunnels to the nearby Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Standard security features include bullet-proof windows, bombproof interior doors, iris recognition scanners, and roof-top evacuation helipads, while 24-hour security and optional personal protection is provided by a company with close connections to the SAS. “Even in markets like London, the availability of top-end developments that attract extremely wealthy international purchasers is still very limited”, property economist, Dr Simon Burridge, told The Property Professional.

High-end investments remain fire-proof “The opportunity for developers to capitalize on this market is therefore real and potentially very lucrative – because they’re selling on what are, and will remain, financially fire-proof


Property Feature

investments, at a time when most people thought such a thing had ceased to exist.” In packed Central London, it’s not quite that simple though. “The problem is that sites suitable for these developments are rare – and so are the range of skills, knowledge and precision to develop products as perfect as these have to be. But get this combination right and the rewards can be significant.” There are, of course, more affordable areas outside this golden triangle that are looking good as well, despite the state of the financial world. One of those is Islington – currently the best-performing market in London in terms of transaction levels and rivalling prime south-west London locations such as Fulham, Wandsworth, Clapham and Putney. Latest real estate statistics here show that the number of transactions stands today at 88 percent of its precredit crunch peak in 2007 – while, believe it or not, prices are 1.1 percent higher compared with the same period. The secret here is proximity to the City, amongst other desirable destinations: just 20 minutes’ walk to Smithfields and Bank, less than half-an-hour by bus to St Paul’s Cathedral (in case you feel like joining the anti-capitalist protestors) or the West End (in case you feel like a bit of Christmas shopping), and just 15 minutes by train to Canary Wharf.

Irish and English buyers favour trendy Islington Buyers here are almost exclusively English and occasionally Irish. “There is no foreign money being spent here; it’s a very indigenous market”, says one local estate agent. “Most of the overseas money coming in at the moment is at the very, very, top end of the market and Islington just doesn’t do it for them, which is fine. It’s doing very well though for a lot of more down-to-earth investors.” In actual fact, the price range here is considerable. Most desirable are properties around Highbury Fields, 30 acres of green space with tennis courts, a swimming pool and a playground, and places like Canonbury and Barnsbury, where Tony and Cherie Blair used to live. “The market is good here, there really is something for everyone and the prices are sustainable”, says Nicholas Ayre, a director of London-based property search agents, Home Fusion. “There’s everything from a £275,000 ex-local authority flat for a first time buyer or investor to a £4 million six-bedroom town house for a growing family, and they all represent solid investments – which is saying a lot these days.”

Modest seaside Weymouth could make biggest property splash of 2012 Olympics While the more exclusive enclaves of London may have booming property mirco-markets, just eight months before the opening of the 2012 Olympic Games, it now looks pretty certain that there’s going to be no widespread fillip to property prices from The Greatest Show on Earth. That’s because the property-buying euphoria that gripped the English capital, along with most of the rest of the world when the London Games were first announced in 2005, has been replaced by the biggest financial downturn in 100 years – and a good return for a modest investment is nowadays a pretty rare bird. But rare birds do exist. Take the seaside town of Weymouth in Dorset, for instance. It’s being tipped, in a low-key kind of way, as the place likely to benefit most, in terms of its domestic and international profile, from the Games, which open at the end of July. Here’s why … This charming but faded seaside resort – best known for its donkeys and its deckchairs – is due to host the highly prestigious Olympic sailing events, which begin on July 29 and run until August 11. It’s never been a high-end kind of place, but the decision to locate the sailing here could change all that – giving it a once-ina-generation leg-up, and boosting its property prices to match those of more chic yachting and sailing resorts along the coast. And this is why it will make a worthwhile property investment: the average house price in the town was just £200,000 last year – a massive 44 percent below neighbouring Swanage and 66 percent below Lyme Regis, otherwise known as The Pearl of Dorset. Despite the flat-lining property market elsewhere, those prices are already 10.5 percent higher than they were then, according to the local land registry – and estate agents say the level of buyer interest is high and is translating well into sales. Take, for instance, the Admiral’s Quarter, a luxury development of energy-efficient one-bed and two-bed apartments, and two- and four-bedroom houses in a magnificent position overlooking the bay and just a few minutes’ walk from the colourful town centre with prices starting at around £130,000 for an apartment and rising to more than £550,000 for a house. This development came onto the market for the first time in September 2010, in the most difficult climate for years and a year later all but six of the 32 units are sold – with the remainder confidently expected to move before the first starting gun next July. These are exactly the type of properties which will generate attractive rents from the thousands of well-heeled spectators from all over the world already looking for comfortable seaside berths in this pretty little town next year. So, canny investors are already circling, and they’re finding real value. But the good news is: there’s plenty more where those came from – and there’s plenty of profit still to be made. You can’t say that about too many locations.

Winter Issue | page 23


News

Distance Learning: an alternative route to career success in property and construction by Anna Bishop, Head of Marketing, the College of Estate Management, Reading, UK

What does distance learning look like today? Distance learning has come a long way from the days of solitary study by correspondence course and is now a highly interactive, multi-media experience which is well-equipped to meet the lifestyle demands of busy property and construction professionals. Today’s supported distance learning model means that you study in your own time, at home, on the move or wherever you wish, through a structured study programme with a set timetable and assessment dates. The use of a virtual learning environment (VLE) provides online study resources and an online community, which gives you contact with fellow students, as well as guidance and support from experienced tutors, many of whom are expert practitioners in their own fields. The VLE, together with occasional face-to-face teaching, is therefore designed to enhance the learning experience and provide many of the socially interactive benefits of a full-time college environment, without the need for a career break to accommodate study.

The key benefits of distance learning One of the outstanding advantages of distance learning is that it enables you to ‘earn while you learn’ and offset the fees from the position of a salaried employee, in a way that balances study and progression with home and family commitments. Real lives need realistic solutions and therefore this mode of study can provide a pragmatic answer to the dilemma of how to fund your career ambitions.

As you stay involved in your industry on a daily basis, your knowledge remains current and is augmented by this type of flexible learning, which allows you to take control of your own education and/or continued professional development. This dual approach of education in tandem with employment means that you gain leading-edge industry knowledge and develop skills which build on your workplace experience, open up new insights and improve both your work performance and ongoing prospects. Gaining prestigious, internationally-recognised qualifications and/or membership of professional bodies through this route also confers a very valuable status on the student, that of a committed, self-disciplined and proactive professional. Such traits are greatly valued by employers and can help candidates stand out in the competitive jobs market.

A high degree of affordability As an alternative to the more traditional full or part-time university educational model, distance learning can offer a powerful combination of highly relevant, top quality teaching and an extremely competitive fee structure. Why not explore what it could do for you? For further information on distance learning courses at the College of Estate Management at Reading log onto www. cem.ac.uk

Dealing with cold weather on a budget As active and responsible members of the community, IPAV members might like to pass on the tips below to elderly clients and friends. (Tips courtesy of Homevalue Hardware) As the colder months approach it’s time to start considering your home heating needs to avoid that last minute rush to ensure you and your family are kept warm this winter. With so many decisions to make in order to make sure that heating bills do not take a big bite out of your monthly budget, it’s good to know help is at hand. Homevalue Hardware has some basic home heating tips to help you save a little money as your heat your home: • Much of the heat loss from a house occurs through the windows, particularly if they are single glazed. So keep your curtains closed at night, even in empty

Winter Issue | page 24

rooms and also ensure that the curtains don’t hang over the radiators as that will just funnel all your heat out the windows. • Close room doors to separate heated from unheated areas of your home, and minimise the area you are heating. There is no need to spend money heating rooms nobody is in. • Make better use of the timers on your immersion or boiler so that you can control when the heating comes on and goes off. This means you have heating and hot water when and where you want it.

• Use a space heater only in the current room you are occupying. This will take the nip out of the air to make you feel more comfortable without heating all of the other rooms in the house and wasting energy. While all of the above are simple tips that won’t cost you anything, some people may want to go a little further and actually spend money to save money. The most effective thing you can spend your money on is insulation. Insulating your attic and walls could save you 30-40% on your home heating bill.


The Residential Tenancies Board is the regulatory authority for the private rented sector established under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.

Bord Um Thionóntachtaí Cónaithe Príobháideacha Private Residential Tenancies Board

Notice to

LANDLORDS REGISTERING YOUR TENANCIES Private Residential tenancies must be registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) within one month of the commencement of the tenancy. If a tenancy is registered within one month from the date the tenancy begins the Registration fee is €90. After one month the registration fee is doubled. Please see the PRTB website, www.prtb.ie, for more details of the registration fees.

Tenancies can now be registered online at www.prtb.ie Registration is a legal requirement. Failure to register may result in a fine of up to €4,000 and / or up to 6 months imprisonment. The website, www.prtb.ie, also contains answers to frequently asked questions, including information on the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.

DISPUTES The PRTB operates a supportive, user-friendly and accessible Dispute Resolution Service for both landlords and tenants who find themselves in dispute over aspects of tenancies.The PRTB’s service is available nationwide.

For further information contact: PRTB, P.O. Box No. 11884, Dublin 2. Bord Um Thionóntachtaí Cónaithe Príobháideacha Private Residential Tenancies Board

Tel: (01) 6350600 Fax: (01) 6350601 E-mail: information@prtb.ie www.prtb.ie


In the Dáil

In the Dáil……. The following is a selection of recent written Dáil replies to TDs on topics of interest to auctioneers and estate agents Privately rented accommodation Deputy Paschal Donohoe (FG, Dublin Central) asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will review the regulatory framework for the privately rented accommodation sector; if he will consider the introduction of a certificate or rating system to be operated by local authorities; if he will also consider amendments to this framework relating to thermal insulation, sound insulation, energy efficiency, insect infestation and increasing the responsibility on tenants. Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Willie Penrose): The Residential Tenancies Act, 2004 sets out the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in the private rented residential sector. The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) was established under the Residential Tenancies Act in September 2004 to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants in the private rented residential sector. My Department conducted a review of the Residential Tenancies Act in 2009 with a specific emphasis on whether the Act best supports the PRTB’s key functions and on whether legislative amendments would support either the achievement of additional operational efficiencies by the PRTB in the delivery of those functions or the broader good working of the private rented sector. The outcomes of the review were announced by my predecessor in April 2010. Consideration of the introduction of a certification or rating system to be operated by local authorities did not feature in any of the recommendations arising from the review. The Government approved the preparation of the Heads of a Bill to deliver on the review’s recommendations. Full details in relation to the background to the review, the associated terms of reference and the outcomes of the review are available on my Department’s website at www.environ. ie .

Winter Issue | page 26

The drafting of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2011 was approved by Government in July 2011. The Bill is currently in preparation by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, in collaboration with my Department An EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, which was transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006 - 2008, introduced a requirement for a Building Energy Rating (BER) system. In the case of buildings offered for letting, the Regulations require a landlord to produce a copy of the BER certificate and an advisory report in relation to the building to any person who expresses an interest in availing of the letting. Minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008, made under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. These Regulations were further amended by the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, which specify a number of requirements in relation to a range of matters including sanitary facilities, refuse facilities, heating, lighting and ventilation. All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with the Regulations. Responsibility for enforcement rests with the relevant local authority, supported by a dedicated stream of funding allocated by my Department. The standards are kept under review by my Department and there are no proposals under consideration at present to make amendments to them. Deputy Paschal Donohoe (FG Dublin Central) asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider amending the Private Residential Tenancies Act 2004 so that landlords would have to register a property rather than a tenancy. Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Willie Penrose):

The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 regulates the tenant-landlord relationship in the private rented residential sector. My Department conducted a review of the Act in 2009 with a specific emphasis on whether the Act best supports the PRTB’s key functions and on whether legislative amendments would support either the achievement of additional operational efficiencies by the PRTB in the delivery of those functions or the broader good working of the private rented sector. The outcomes of the review were announced by my predecessor in April 2010. The drafting of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2011 was approved by Government in July 2011 and the Bill is currently in preparation by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel in collaboration with my Department. The Act provides that a landlord must apply to register the tenancy of a dwelling with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB). Such registration must be accompanied by a fee, the level of which is dependent on whether the tenancy is registered within one month of its commencement or later than one month after the commencement of the tenancy. There is also a specific fee for the registration of several tenancies within the same property within one month of the commencement of the tenancies. The maximum duration of a tenancy under the Act is four years, after which a new tenancy must be registered with the Board. In the case of a dwelling subject to several different tenancies in a 12 month period, no more than two registration fees are payable. The issue as to whether dwellings or tenancies should be the focus of registration was considered by the Commission on the Private Rented Sector, on whose report and recommendations the Act was modelled. The Commission recommended, in July 2000, the registration of tenancies and I do not propose to revisit this fundamental aspect of the Act at present.


In the Dáil

Bill to provide for €100 Household charge is published The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan, T.D. recently announced the publication of the Bill to provide for the introduction of the household charge of €100 to fund vital local services in line with the requirement in the EU/IMF Programme of Financial Support for Ireland. The Government had announced, in July, 2011, its intention to introduce the household charge in 2012. The Minister stressed the Government’s firm commitment to introduce a valuation based property tax to replace the household charge. The Minister indicated that work is to commence early in the New Year on the development of the property tax. “A full property tax, requiring a property valuation system, will take time to implement, so the Government is introducing the interim household charge to apply to the majority of owners of residential property in the State. I will establish an inter-Departmental expert group to advise me, by mid 2012, on the design, scope and implementation of the property tax,” the Minister stated. The Bill will provide for the raising of some €160 million from the household charge which will be used to support the continued delivery by local authorities of vital services for our communities. “It is essential, if we want to continue to have the

level of local services we expect, such as fire and emergency services, well maintained streets, public parks, waste services, libraries, open spaces and leisure facilities, that we provide the necessary financial resources to pay for them. I understand that the introduction of the household charge, even though modest at less than the equivalent of €2 a week, represents an additional cost for homeowners so I have provided in the Bill that it may be paid in a number of installments. I have also introduced provisions in the Bill to protect vulnerable groups in society by providing a waiver for those on mortgage interest supplement and those residing in certain unfinished housing estates.” The Minister indicated that further details on the unfinished estates that will qualify for the waiver will be announced as soon as possible. In conclusion, the Minister stated: “This measure is a further demonstration of this Government’s commitment to restoring balance in the public finances. It will provide a new stream of funding for local government enabling the sector to continue to respond to local needs and contribute to a more efficient, accountable and effective local government system. This is local democracy in action.”

South of Ireland Agency For Sale Located in a prime location, (the only auctioneer based in a catchment area of 18,000 people and with easy access to a large urban population), the agency has high profile offices, a designated web site, a well-known brand and logo, complemented by experienced staff and an extensive list of clients which all help to provide a rich source of listings. It leaves it well positioned to benefit when the markets return to stability. Almost completely unexploited, there is huge potential in a highly developed local commercial sector. It is a business that will earn money from day one in the hands of an experienced individual and will pay for itself in a very short time. If required, the seller will remain for a period to ease the new person into the driver’s seat. Established almost 20 years ago this south of Ireland Auctioneers/valuers/letting/property management agency has been profitable from the commencement and but for the intervention of ‘Father Time’, the owner would be happy to continue indefinitely. Its record fees for November this year is proof of how well it has adapted and survived the recession. Residential sales and lettings provide the bulk of the earnings and a growing book of managed units contributes handsomely to cash flow. To borrow a phrase from the motor trade (and mangle it) ; “No wall tappers please”

Replies by e -mail only to: info@ipav.ie. Confidentiality given and expected

Ordnance Survey Ireland Mapping Online www.osi.ie A number of new developments in digital and online mapping have enabled OSi to build a more efficient and value-added service and ultimately improve the way our customers do business. The benefits of digital mapping for the modern property professional are manifold; digital data can be used in a wide range of computer based applications such as Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Data can be linked to other information bases, such as census data, to provide a powerful tool in marketing and decision making. For more information visit our award winning website www.osi.ie. s Aerial

Photograph Pack s Laser Scanned Height Data (LiDAR) s Environmental Reports s Planning

t: 01 8025300 a: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8 e: dominic.cronin@osi.ie e: kevin.brady@osi.ie w: www.osi.ie Winter Issue | page 27


The last word

All changed – a personal reflection. By Peter Brady, Chairman, IPAV Education Advisory Committee

It was Albert Einstein who remarked that no problem can be solved from the same level of thinking that created it. I mention this as I read that the country will sustain the present levels of unemployment for the next 20 years, that the bottom has completely fallen out of the property market and that the Government is pursuing a policy of stealth taxes and charges that must surely plunge the country into a new Dark Age. One wonders whether we will be plunged into nothing more than modern day hewers of wood and drawers of water. It is a belief that many of my contemporaries subscribe to. I am afraid that the driving force behind this policy is based on the very same principles that placed us in this economic nightmare. It was Margaret Thatcher who declared that there was no such thing as society and in its stead promoted a strong philosophy of individualism. One notes that is very much to the forefront of political debate in America driven by the rise of the Tea Party. In our own country it is evident in the endless scapegoating of various groups of people as being responsible for the collapse of the economy. The public service, the bankers, the politicians - as if every individual person in these organisations were decisionmakers and shared the same level of personal responsibility for the crisis. There is little attention to detail and little objectivity in the debate. We live, in short, in a fractured society and it is not a pleasant place to live.

Fundamental assumptions The fundamental assumptions underpinning our society appear to be undermining us. Self-interest has replaced co-operation and indeed it would appear that leadership is placed in the hands of media experts, shock jocks, economists and pundits of all colours. The airwaves are full of the chattering classes promoting fear, scarcity and self-interest to get people to accept what they say is the inevitable and be thankful that those who have work, are employed. This philosophy is not serving us well and has not produced any innovative thinking. We are trudging through crises by making decisions that will only end up making us all the more worse off. The crisis management approach based on the notion that only a special elite have the capacity to solve our problems, that people work best when controlled and regulated and that a healthy economy makes a healthy society is patently failing us. We have lost the old ideas of co-operation (meitheall in the Irish) and replaced it with a selfish individualism that has not benefitted us at all.

Winter Issue | page 28

If we are to emerge from the present crisis I believe we have to start the recovery by looking at ourselves. Have we been well served by individualism? Is there an alternative to the deadening hand that passes for leadership today? The question arises: Is there an alternative to the present way of managing our affairs? It is difficult to contemplate change when faced with the stresses and strains of modern life. While we may understand that our present beliefs and values have not served us well, it is not easy to imagine change.

Romantic ramblings While any contemplation of an alternative view can easily be dismissed as the romantic ramblings of Utopians, it resonates in our own constitution in its desire to treat all the children of the nation equally. Compare this aspiration where, presently, the prevailing beliefs have it that only those with material comfort are capable of leading and being creative. The human story tells us that there is a better way. Unfortunately, the story is dulled by the pessimism of the present. It is evident to me that the time has come to terminate the old republic and build a new one. This will not be achieved by tinkering around the edges – that is the way we have dealt with messes in the past and it only brings disrepute on all who do it. It undermines confidence in political systems that are supposed to serve us. It creates economies that make humans subservient and generates great inequalities. Dismantling the republic calls for a kind of leadership that believes in the collective strength of the group to solve problems, that things can improve when we work together on things we cherish. We may have lost the economic freedom to choose but we have not lost our voice. If we are to emerge from this crisis in a better state, we need to focus on how we can grow together. Our values must be human values. Science fiction writers of the past may have turned out to be science fact writers when we consider that we have placed men on the moon, constructed space stations and the like. Imaginings have become reality. It may well be that if we forget how to empathise and look out only for ourselves, the present crisis in the world economy will devour us all. Now more than ever is the time to remember the quotation: “the day we stop fighting for each other, we stop being humans.”


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