The figure referred to relates to the decrease in the number of private rented tenancies registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), rather than rental "properties". The data held and reported on by the RTB is based on tenancies registered and is the most comprehensive data source on the private rental sector.
A tenancy may be terminated by either the landlord or the tenant. There are numerous reasons why a landlord or tenant may validly end a tenancy as set out in the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 - 2016.
At the end of 2017, there were approximately 340,000 tenancies registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), of which approximately 310,000 were private rented tenancies. Although indications are that this figure declined slightly in 2018, the overall size and scale of the sector remains such as to make up a significant component of housing tenures in Ireland, having doubled in size over the last 20 years.
The loss of landlords from the sector is a concern given that demand in the rental sector is high and will remain strong into the future. The majority of landlords, just over 70%, own just one property, with a further 16% owning just two properties. It is vital that such landlords remain in the sector in order to ensure a robust and well-functioning rental sector into the future.
The Strategy for the Rental Sector developed under Rebuilding Ireland outlines a strategy and a range of measures for a viable and sustainable rental sector. Structured around the four key areas of security, supply, standards and services, the Strategy set out a number of targeted measures and initiatives with the aim of providing better security of tenure, achieving higher accommodation standards and greater rent certainty for tenants, as well as enhancing the supports and services available to landlords to facilitate the development of a more vibrant and sustainable rental sector. The Strategy also aims to provide for other models of delivery of housing intended specifically for rental purposes.
A Working Group in relation to the tax and fiscal treatment of rental accommodation providers was established in 2017, chaired by the Department of Finance and also comprising the Revenue Commissioners, my Department and the RTB. The report of the Working Group was published in September 2017 and can be accessed through the following weblink:
Report of Working Group on Tax and Fiscal Treatment of Landlords
It is a matter for the Department of Finance to lead the implementation of the Group's policy options in line with any related Government decisions.