New figures from national housing charity, Threshold show that the sale of rental properties is the main reason tenancies are being terminated by landlords in Galway city. During the Q3 2017 period (July to September 2017), the charity dealt with a total of 183 cases of tenancy termination by landlords. Of these, 40 per cent (78 cases) concerned the sale of the property by the landlord.
Commenting, Threshold Western Regional Services Manager, Diarmaid O’Sullivan said: “The findings are a cause for concern as they indicate that there is an increase in the numbers of landlords leaving the rental market. Given the shortage of rental properties in the city at the moment, this is a worrying development. The figures also underline the insecurity faced by many tenants in the private rented sector.”
The findings show that the other main reasons tenancies are terminated by landlords are that they require the property for their own or a family member’s use (16%), they intend to carry out substantial renovation on the property (8%), or the tenant is in rent arrears (22%).
These findings come against the backdrop of the latest quarterly rental report from property website Daft.ie, which found that the number of properties available to rent across the country is at an all-time low, with rent at another all-time high. According to the report, there were only 3,365 properties available to rent nationwide on 1st November, while average national rent is €1,198.
Mr O’Sullivan added: “In the current environment, when a tenancy is terminated, it is extremely challenging for tenants to find alternative accommodation. For some, the termination of their tenancy can lead to homelessness. Where people do find alternative accommodation, they often end up paying much higher rents.
“Today’s Daft.ie Rental Price Report for Q3 2017 shows that rents in Galway City increased by 9.8 per cent. The introduction of a Rent Pressure Zone in the city earlier this year appears to be having a gradual moderating effect on rents in the city, but the average rent in the city continues to grow, and now stands at €1,057.”
Nationally, Threshold is calling for robust policing and enforcement of RPZ legislation. Chief executive, John-Mark McCafferty said: “While the report indicates an 11.2 per cent increase in rents nationally, it does show an easing in the annual rate of rental inflation, from 13.4 per cent at the start of 2017 to 11.2 per cent now. While it is not good that rents continue to rise, it is reassuring to see that the rate of inflation is starting to drop. This is a remarkable achievement in a market of limited supply, which, we believe, is down to Rent Pressure Zones beginning to make an impact.
“While the development of large-scale housing projects is the only long-term solution to the housing crisis, it will take time to increase the supply of affordable homes for low- to middle-income tenants. Until supply can be significantly ramped up, we believe the best way to stabilise rent inflation is by robustly policing and enforcing the RPZ legislation. This, in turn, will help to stabilise the rental market. There is no excuse for the construction industry not to immediately start to build, as new developments are not covered by RPZ guidelines.”
Under the RPZ law, a new tenant can only be charged four per cent more than a previous tenant and the landlord must explain in writing to a new tenant the calculations behind the rent, as it relates to the RPZ formula. This legislation gives sitting tenants and those searching for accommodation equal rights. However, it is being flouted by some landlords.
Threshold is calling on the Government to introduce a publicly accessible rent register and to urgently introduce a legal definition for “substantial renovations”, which is being used by some landlords as a reason to terminate tenancies or to increase rents beyond the RPZ limit.