The national housing charity Threshold, has today (08.11.2016) reported a 26 per cent rise nationally in the number of tenants seeking advice and support for rent reviews in the past year, which according to the charity is pushing families to the brink of homelessness and the Government must act immediately to address this nationwide challenge.
According to the charity, commenting today in response to the latest report from the property website, Daft.ie., the dramatic increases in rents in recent months is putting many at risk of homelessness with rents increasing by an average of 11.7 per cent between July and September – the biggest 12-month increase recorded by the Daft.ie report since its series started in 2002.
Commenting on the figures, Stephen Large, Manager of Threshold in Dublin, said: “The latest Daft.ie report released today confirms that the exponential rate of rent increases is having devastating impacts on social cohesion, and without urgent action, rents will continue to rise. Indeed last week’s figures released by the Department of Housing show that the number of homeless families in Ireland is higher than it has ever been, which is simply unacceptable.”
“Here in Threshold, we speak to hundreds of individuals and families around the country every day who are suffering due to rapidly increasing rents and difficulty finding affordable accommodation. The increase in the number of people approaching Threshold for advice on rent reviews and increases underlines the pressure tenants are under. If these issues are not addressed, we will see the number of homeless families continue to rise.”
The most recent Daft.ie Rental Report, published today, outlines that the average rent nationwide rose by almost 4 per cent in the third quarter and rents in Dublin are now 10 per cent higher than their 2008 Celtic Tiger peak. The highest increase was in Meath, where rents have increased by 15.8 per cent in the past twelve months.
According to the report, if a family seeking a 3 bed house in Dublin is in receipt of rent supplement with a limit of €1,300pm, they are now 29 per cent below current market rent.
In response to the growing challenges being faced by tenants in the private rented sector, Threshold operates a Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) in Dublin and the commuter counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, Cork city and surrounding areas and Galway. The purpose of the TPS is to prevent tenancy breakdown and the occurrence of homelessness. Last year alone, the service prevented 8,550 people (including 4,483 children) from becoming homeless.
Stephen Large added: “Since being launched in 2014, the Tenancy Protection Service has referred 2,750 Protocol applications with 1,548 cases still active. If a person is facing a rent increase, the Tenancy Protection Service can help by applying for an enhanced payment for individuals and households in receipt of rent supplement who are at risk of homelessness.
“The service has been extremely successful to date in keeping people in their homes and we are calling for the immediate national roll out of the service as provided for in the recent government report, Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, which provides for this.”
Threshold made a submission to the Strategy for the Private Rented Sector yesterday (07.11.16) and amongst the recommendations outlined in the submission, the charity has called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD to:
- Amend the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2015 to provide for rent certainty as to the rate of increase in rents.
- Ensure that tenants are afforded greater security in their homes, by introducing indefinite tenancies.
- Introduce legal safeguards to give residential tenants, similar rights to the tenants of commercial properties, to allow them to continue in their tenancy during and after the sale of a rented property.
- Immediately roll out the Tenancy Protection Service nationally.
Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service can be contacted by telephone on freephone 1800 454 454.
Threshold wishes to acknowledge funding received from the Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019 and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.