| 13.3°C Dublin

Wexford property crisis: ‘Who in their right mind would buy a house in Wexford?’

Owner of €3,000 a month rental house says market is broken


Willie O'Leary.

Willie O'Leary.

Developer Willie O'Leary

Developer Willie O'Leary

One house is being rented for €3,000 a month to workers.

One house is being rented for €3,000 a month to workers.


Willie O'Leary.


The owner of hundreds of houses and apartments in south Wexford – including a three-bed house which is renting for €3,000 a month to workers – has said things are only going to get worse unless the Government gives tax breaks to developers.

Willie O’Leary owns Hookless Village, along with numerous rental properties in New Ross.

One of the Hookless properties was highlighted on social media this week as it was going for €3,000 a month. The property was removed from property websites on Thursday morning having been rented.

Mr O’Leary said the property would make €5,000 a month if it was a holiday rental, adding that it accommodates nine workers within three bedrooms.

This is Wexford Newsletter

A weekly update on the top stories from County Wexford in news and sport, direct to your inbox

This field is required

“Their food, electricity, room cleaning, maintenance is all provided for in the price,” he said, adding that it was rented out within days of being placed on the market.

With the price of three-bed houses climbing closer to €2,000 a month with every passing day, Mr O’Leary acknowledges that something has to give.

“Who in their right mind would buy a house in Wexford now? As a landlord you pay 40pc in tax, plus 12pc in PRSI. In Poland, the tax on rental income is 8pc. Vulture funds pay 20pc and with some creative accounting they can probably pay as little as 10pc.”

Mr O’Leary said people staying at his workers’ houses’ pay around €40 per night each. He said the house in question was previously rented out to workers.

“It’s for people coming and going. There are a lot of foreign workers working in the area. There was only one property (for €3,000) and they are who it is geared at.

“They are calling us and they are saying we will pay you €40 per night. It’s not for families. €3,000 a month is nothing unusual as they would probably make that a week as a summer rental.”
He said the average cost of renting a property in New Ross is €1,200 for a two-bedroom apartment.

He said his Hookless houses are among the cheapest in Wexford to rent, at €900 a month on average for long term tenants.

He has around 50 workers staying in Hookless, describing the way their rent is paid as different to a family home as bills as included.

Crunching the numbers, he said once a mortgage is paid and 50pc in taxes, it no longer makes sense to be a landlord.

“After tax, you might be left with €450 and that is only if the property is perfect and is rented 100pc of the time. It doesn’t pay to build a house and rent it at all. It’s a loss-making situation.”

He said: “The rents are sky high because the government are taking half of it. That is why everybody is getting out. Renting property now is a pure waste of time. Some people don’t go and they go to the PRTB. They find in favour of me and it goes to court but the court won’t throw them out and people stay in your house for years. I have one property where the tenant hasn’t paid a cent in three years and the judge won’t put them out.”

Mr O’Leary said once he finished work on 40 more apartments at his Kennedy development in New Ross, he’ll stop developing properties for rent.

“If I could get someone to buy all of my property, I would sell it. Another reason people are leaving the industry is because it’s too difficult to get tenants out. When a tenant has a problem he or she is no stop ringing you. I had one person who said to me that their politician was coming to see them. They asked me what they should say and I said ‘ask him to give you the money to pay your rent’.”

The only option to beginning to remedy the rental situation in Ireland is for the government to take urgent action, Mr O’Leary said.

“We have an energy crisis. The government reduced duty on fuel by 20c and it went up over €2 a litre. They got 23c back, that is why there’s a surplus of €5.2bn. The only people who can sort this issue in one foul move are the government.”