“It is now critical that the Government delivers on its promise to bring rent certainty to the private rented sector.” That’s according to Threshold Chairperson, Senator Aideen Hayden, who was reacting to the latest Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) Quarterly Index, showing that Dublin rents rose by just under 10% during the past year and that rents nationally went up by almost 7%.
“The private rented sector has more than doubled in size in recent years and now provides housing for one in five families. Those who choose to rent or who have been forced to rent their home because they have no other option, simply cannot afford rent increases of this level”, said Senator Hayden.
“In Threshold’s experience, the figures published by the PRTB tell only half the story because they mask the severe problems experienced by tenants living at the lower end of the market, where competition for accommodation is at its most desperate. Threshold regularly assists tenants who are facing demands for 20-40% increases in rent which they simply cannot afford.
“Rising rent levels mean that households dependent on rent supplement now have little or no chance of securing accommodation, with rent limits now effectively frozen at 2013 levels. The family homelessness crisis in the capital is the inevitable consequence, with 40 families a month now becoming homeless.
“Given today’s further evidence of increasing pressure on tenants, Threshold welcomes the comments made this week by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, at the organisation’s conference, ‘Generation Rent: the Future of the Private Rented Sector in Ireland’, in which he committed to bringing rent certainty proposals to Cabinet. However, it is now time to turn this commitment into specific measures that will provide this certainty and protect tenants from unsustainable rent increases.
“Increased rents also mean demands from landlords for higher rent deposits. The Government’s promise that a deposit protection scheme to safeguard tenants’ money will soon be enacted is also welcome, given the scale of deposits now being held by landlords and the number of landlords who continue to illegally retain deposits at the end of a tenancy.
“Threshold acknowledges the Minister’s willingness to consider the introduction of an ‘NCT for housing’, in line with previous proposals made by Threshold, to ensure that rented properties comply with minimum standards. This will protect tenants who are otherwise concerned about challenging their landlord about the quality of their property as a retaliatory rent increase may be the result”, Senator Hayden said.