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Only 7% of property rents are within state supplement rates

By Ann Marie Foley - 14 March, 2018

Only 7% of properties available to rent across Ireland are available within Rent Supplement (RS) /Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) levels.

This is according to the Simon Communities latest Locked Out of the Market X snapshot study, which showed that there were just 538 properties available to rent across the eleven locations. This is a decrease of 54% when compared to May 2015, when the first Locked Out of the Market study was carried out and there were 1,150 properties available. One year ago, 600 properties were available to rent.

“It really is nearly impossible for people to find somewhere to rent. Overall supply is considerably down but the number of properties available to rent within the limits of Rent Supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is minuscule. This is extremely problematic as the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan is heavily reliant on the private rental sector to deliver social housing through HAP,” said Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland. “Critically the State must build social and affordable homes at the scale required; that is the key to resolving this crisis,” she said.

She highlighted the problem of depending on the rental sector stating there are 5,232 households in Emergency Accommodation, but according to a separate report by Daft.ie, there were fewer than 3,150 properties available to rent nationwide in the month of February 2018.

“The supply is simply not there for people to move on from emergency accommodation and homeless services. Over 9,000 people are stuck; there is nowhere for them to go. Many of these people in emergency accommodation are there because they have already lost their rented home,” she said.

Locked Out of the Market X was conducted over three consecutive days – 13th, 14th and 15th February 2018. and the tenth study in the Locked Out of the Market series. In this latest study the disparity between market rent and RS/HAP rent limits ranged from 6% higher in Leitrim to213% higher in Dublin city centre.  It also showed there were only 3 properties available for single people with the average rent being 49% higher than the average RS/HAP payment limits for a single person. 44% of people on the social housing waiting list are recorded as single without dependents in their care, and 3,715 people in emergency accommodation are recorded as being single.

Niamh Randall said that as people cannot afford to buy a home the private rental market is their only option. “Where are they to go? Some landlords are now asking for three months’ rent in advance. People on housing benefit, low incomes or those leaving homelessness just cannot afford that.”

She stated that RS and HAP must increase to allow households in receipt of these payments to compete fairly in the private rented sector. She suggested that in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), these payments must increase by at least 4% as the majority of rents in these areas will increase by at least 4% per annum.

She called, not for the first time, on the Government to urgently introduce measures to ensure that there is full rent certainty and security of tenure. She also called that for action to close loopholes that allow section 34 evictions to continue for reasons of sale or renovations so called ‘renovictions’.

Other details highlighted in the report include:

The private rental sector is home to 497,111 households and represented almost 30% of all occupied dwellings according to the last census. The average nationwide rent now stands at €1227 per month – a year on year increase of 10.4% (Daft.ie 2017 Quarter 4 Rental Report) which also shows that there have been cumulative increases in rent wehre rents have increased by approximately 65% since 2012

For the full report see: www.simon.ie

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