Renters who are worried about losing their home are being encouraged to call Threshold for information, advice and support in order to help protect their tenancies.
The Tenancy Protection Service, a Freephone service (1800 454 454) provided by Threshold, plays a crucial role in keeping people in their homes and in preventing homelessness. The scarcity of rental property means that moving accommodation is no longer a viable option for many, so it is now more important than ever that tenants get the support they need to sustain their existing tenancies in both urban and rural areas.
Since 2014, the national housing charity, Threshold has provided a free telephone helpline for families and individuals at risk of homelessness and has worked to assist a broad range of renters to engage with their landlord to help to secure their homes. An important element of the service, in certain areas, is to intervene in cases where families in receipt of Rent Supplement are in danger of losing their homes. As part of Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness, the service is now national, and the public awareness campaign launched today (23.05.17) by Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney TD reflects this.
Speaking at this morning’s launch in Dublin city centre, Chief Executive of Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty said: “The Tenancy Protection Service is Threshold’s support to renters across the country, whether urban or rural. This vital service ensures that families at risk of homelessness throughout Ireland stand a better chance of staying on in their current housing without having to seek homeless services.
“Since June 2014, the Tenancy Protection Service in Dublin has dealt with over 10,000 calls and helped 2,846 households remain in their privately rented homes through an enhanced rent supplement payment. At a time when there are over 1,000 households with over 2,000 children in homeless services, the problem would be much worse for families if Threshold’s services were not in place. Supply of private rented accommodation is at an all-time low and it is therefore essential that every resource is directed towards keeping people in their current homes and away from homeless services.”
Mr McCafferty continued: “Similarly, tenants in Cork face significant increases in their rents, with more low-income families finding it increasingly difficult to access private rented housing. Since it was introduced in 2015, the Tenancy Protection Service in Cork has assisted over 2,300 households at risk of homelessness. With increased rates of tenancies being terminated across Munster, current policy measures fall short of providing security of tenure to renters – especially low income tenants.”
In its first year of service in Galway (June 2016 – May 2017), 40 per cent of tenants contacting the Tenancy Protection Service were at risk of losing their homes as a result of being served a notice of termination. The main reasons given were that the landlord was selling or needed the property for their own use. Mr McCafferty said: “The shortage of supply of rental accommodation and rising demand has led to dramatic increases in rent, particularly in urban areas. The knock-on effect is that tenants can no longer afford to live in Galway City or other urban centres. Almost half of the enquiries dealt with by the TPS in Galway in the last 12 months concerned rent increases or rent arrears.”
Threshold is proud to announce that renters all across the country can now contact Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service on 1800 454 454, from 9am to 9pm, and they will receive the following prompt interventions if they are at risk of losing their home:
- Immediate guidance about rights as tenants, and landlord obligations.
- Negotiation between tenant and landlord to resolve problems and take further action if needed, including referral to the Residential Tenancies Board.
- Guidance on how to apply to the Department of Social Protection for an uplift in payment for families/couples or individuals in specific areas who are facing a rent increase and who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Threshold provides the Tenancy Protection Service on behalf of Dublin City, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Fingal, South Dublin, Cork City and County, Kerry County, Galway city and county, Mayo and Roscommon local authorities. It is supported by the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and the Department of Social Protection.
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.