Average small landlord is older than 45 and in sector more than 12 years, research finds

Largest group of renters from small landlords is now couples with children, at 33%

Landlords Tax

The average small landlord is 45 or older, has another primary occupation and is in the sector for more than 12 years, according to research gathered for the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

The RTB’s rent sector survey 2023, published on Wednesday, and undertaken by Amárach Research, provides profiles of the average renter and landlord in the Irish housing market.

It found 79 per cent of small landlords, those who have one or two properties, are aged 45 and older. Furthermore, a total of 94 per cent of small landlords have a different primary occupation.

Nearly half of all rental properties were acquired with an owner-occupier mortgage (46 per cent), while 26 per cent were acquired with buy-to-let mortgages.


Some 15 per cent previously rented out a greater number of properties than they do now, up from 10 per cent in 2020. Among those who sold properties last year, high taxation was the most common reason behind the sale (45 per cent).

The largest cohort renting from small landlords in 2022 were couples with children (33 per cent), followed by a single person, which includes multiple single people in one property at 31 per cent.

For smaller-medium landlords, those who have three to 20 properties, they are mostly well established, operating for a median of 20 years in 2022, compared with 15 years in 2020.

Medium landlords are most likely to own and rent out houses, but many also have apartments in their portfolio.

In 2022, 76 per cent own houses, an increase from 69 per cent in 2020. Apartments in purpose-built developments are owned by 44 per cent, followed by apartments within converted houses at 21 per cent. Ownership of totally owned purpose-built blocks of apartments is 5 per cent, down from 10 per cent in 2020.

Unlike small landlords, who often become property owners due to circumstances, medium landlords are more likely to enter the private rented sector intentionally. This is evidenced by 45 per cent of smaller-medium landlords purchasing their rental properties using buy-to-let mortgages.

Renters spend an average of 5.03 years in the private rental sector, with the average number of occupants living in a rented property being 3.14.

Some 29 per cent of renters are sharing with others who are not their spouses or partners. A total of 40 per cent of tenants surveyed are non-Irish citizens.

  • Sign up for push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone
  • Find The Irish Times on WhatsApp and stay up to date
  • Our In The News podcast is now published daily – Find the latest episode here
Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers

Shauna Bowers is a reporter for The Irish Times