National housing charity Threshold has expressed concern at the latest Daft.ie quarterly rental report, which shows that rents rose nationwide by an average of 11.3 per cent in the year to September 2018.
Commenting, chair of Threshold, Aideen Hayden said: “This report promises a bleak Christmas for renters and an uncertain future for 2019. These type of rent increases are unsustainable and out of control – it’s telling that the cost of renting now exceeds the cost of a mortgage. It is also worrying that rent increases outside of Dublin are now rising faster – this is attributable to displacement from Dublin, where rents have risen by more than 100 per cent since 2012 in nine Dublin postal districts.
“For some, the increase in rent is greater than the cost of a Christmas dinner for a family and exceeds the cost of a weekly shop – therefore what are the sacrifices that so many are making just to keep a roof over their heads? Many of us are not feeling any real impact from a sustained economic recovery. The tax benefits from last month’s budget are effectively wiped out, with rising household costs from home heating to electricity costs also a problem.”
She added: “The issue here is lack of availability, leading to lack of affordability, compounded by a lack of enforcement of rent pressure zone legislation, which caps rent increases at 4 per cent per year. Lack of availability of social housing is pushing up rent in the private rented sector as those who would traditionally have been accommodated in social housing are vying for the same limited stock as those who would traditionally have rented in the private sector. Lack of enforcement of the RPZ legislation is seeing those increases go beyond the legal limit.
“The Government is over-reliant on the private rented sector. It urgently needs to focus on building social housing and to ensuring that existing RPZ legislation is enforced. The immediate introduction of a clear and transparent rent register is crucial for this.”
Regional services manager, Cork, Edel Conlon added: “The Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) limits need to be reviewed immediately to allow the most vulnerable tenants an opportunity to find a home. Often tenants who are in receipt of HAP are being forced to pay a contribution that is considerably higher than a Local Authority differential rent and there are thousands of people living in emergency accommodation, as they can’t afford these rising rents.
“Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service is working with an average of 300 households a day to protect their tenancies from ending. These households are at serious risk of homelessness as there are very few options available for people with just 3,214 properties available to rent nationwide.”