Ask Sinead Ryan: 'We're fed up with Brexit and are considering returning to Ireland. What should we know?'
Q We are a couple considering returning to Ireland as we had always intended retiring there. Even though we are only in our early 60s, we are completely fed up with Brexit and seriously concerned about staying in the UK much longer.
We read the Irish Independent online every day and see news of rising house prices, which is alarming, and our UK home may become hard to sell. Is there any implication for us buying now and perhaps renting it out and move in a couple of years? We both have Irish passports and work here, although my husband will be on the pension from 2021. What should we know?
A I've been receiving a lot of correspondence about Brexit, as you can imagine, and my inclination is to preface any answer with "I don't know", which to me, seems the only sensible starting point until we know what's what.
March 29 has passed without incident or, indeed, a deal. What happens next, I can't speculate. I generally take the philosophical view that life's choices can't be made in isolation, but nor can you put everything on hold for the circumstances to be perfect. If you want to retire to Ireland, then this is what you should do, putting in place whatever necessary supports or baby steps help you avoid making poor decisions.
Prices, especially in Dublin, are largely flat-lining, or at least inflating at a much slower rate thanks to the Central Bank's borrowing rules impacting on borrowers, particularly at the upper end. Supply is increasing also, softening prices overall with an increase of 35pc in properties listed for sale over this time last year, so keep an eye on websites to monitor this. You might want to visit here, engage with some selling agents and start planning your move, whether it be sooner or later. Bear in mind, house prices in the UK are actually up 8pc since the Brexit vote in 2016, so don't believe the naysayers either. If you decide to buy now and rent, it's important you fully understand the implications of so doing, which carry fairly onerous responsibilities (see rtb.ie), so don't feel rushed into it as a solution.
Q We've found a house we really want to buy. However, it shares a side passage with its neighbour which leads into both gardens openly. The estate agent says it's never been a problem, but I found out the neighbour is a nice elderly lady, who won't be the owner forever. It's a very odd design and I'm worried about both privacy and access issues. There is a burlap fence between the two houses most of the way down the garden, but it stops short of the top, where the access divides into two without impediment. Even if I put up a gate, there's nothing to attach it to. What can I do to secure my right to it?
A You have two issues: the structure and the legalities. It seems to me this is probably an older property built perhaps as a 'side-garden' house on a piece of land. Your boundary space is very important and your concerns well founded. Susan Cosgrove of Cosgrove Gaynard solicitors says: "I have come across this situation previously and if I were to guess, I expect the deeds will show half of the passageway inside of this property's boundary with a right of way over the other half included in the neighbour's title and vice-versa.
"The right of way might not be registered and if not, it is something that can be tidied up at this stage. It is probably worth requesting this be resolved now by the vendor prior to purchasing."
In terms of the practical end, I'd certainly ask a builder to come look at it and see what might be done to create a firm boundary between the houses. You may end up paying for all of it if the neighbour doesn't see the need or can't afford to contribute. It may be that once the legal boundary line is defined, you could have a wall, fence or hedge erected which would separate it once and for all.
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The Ryan review
New Rent Pressure Zones in Navan and Limerick City are an inexorable move toward mandatory controls across the country. Already, they're being extended to 2021 despite being due to end this year. Why? Well because they haven't made a blind bit of difference and it's hoped Mr Time will do his magic.
Economists rarely agree on anything, but all are at one regarding rent controls - they just don't work.
Rents fell a minuscule 0.3pc in the last quarter of 2018; poor evidence of a working policy. In Dublin, they even rose, averaging €1,650 p.m. which should result in an immediate review, but will probably merely cause a furrowed brow from policymakers. If it doesn't, then news that rents are now a full 15pc higher than they were peak boom in 2007 should. Good things are happening: supply is increasing, REITs and other professional landlords are buying apartments en-bloc which helps renters over buyers. But Dublin is still a massively expensive city and what of the nurse, teacher and garda we're trying to retain on very modest incomes who simply find that 50pc or more going toward rent leaves little left for life itself?
Sinead presents 'The Home Show' on Newstalk from 9am on Saturdays