People on low incomes may face imminent financial crisis
Threshold has warned that the lack of affordable rental properties is now at a critical level for many people around the country after the latest RTB Index figures show an 8.2% year-on-year increase nationally.
“This news comes as we enter the most financially precarious period of the year for many people on low incomes”, according to Threshold Chairperson Aideen Hayden. “People facing large post-Christmas bills in January will also be facing record rents. It is a perfect storm for vulnerable families and individuals who rent their home.”
She said there are some positive developments in the report, such as year-on-year rental inflation in Cork City dropping to 1.4%. As the average rent now stand at over €1,200 in the city this slowdown is overdue. “The year on year increase in Dublin, at 6.6%, is the lowest for a long time but this is of little comfort to renters who are still facing rent increases of more than seven times the level of inflation”, said Ms Hayden.
The Threshold CEO John-Mark McCafferty said: “Worryingly the 8.2% increase in the national average rent was driven in particular by rent inflation outside of Dublin. The rents in Galway, Kerry, Meath, Offaly, Monaghan, Sligo, Waterford and Westmeath all rose by more than 10% in the year.
“Shockingly Baltinglass saw an increase of over 20% and it has now been designated an RPZ. Renters in the area will struggle with monthly rent which is now €200 more a month than it was in Q3 2018. This means they will have €200 less purchasing power, money which is not now available for bills, car insurance, childcare costs, groceries or Christmas gifts.”
Threshold sad that the calls to their tenant support services show that increases such as these have serious consequences in particular for those on lower incomes such as low wage workers, the unemployed, those in receipt of disability payments and pensioners. In cases where the HAP payments fall short these vulnerable tenants will be left paying sizeable top-ups to their landlord to keep their home.
“This is the first quarter during which the RTB have had their new powers to enforce the RPZ rules”, said Ms Hayden. “For renters who have seen rents increase relentlessly year on year this will at least mean some level of predictability in future rents. However what renters really need is for rents to decrease to levels that are fair and manageable.”