Threshold calls for immediate roll-out of national rental strategy measures and greater protections for tenants

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Threshold calls for immediate roll-out of national rental strategy measures and greater protections for tenants

The national housing charity, Threshold, has today (14.03.17) responded to recent reports that home ownership in Dublin has fallen to lowest rate since records began in 2000, based on unpublished figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The figures also show a significant increase in the number of those renting privately in Dublin, up from 10 per cent of the population in 2000, to 25 per cent by the third quarter of 2016.

Commenting on the figures announced today, Chief Executive of Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty said: “These figures show that an increasing number of people are living in the rental sector, both by choice and by necessity. The current system is not fit for purpose, with poor protections afforded to renters and with rental costs skyrocketing at a ceaseless rate.

“The private rented sector is the second largest housing tenure after home ownership, providing homes for one in five households in Ireland. Renting your home should be a viable tenure of choice, as it is in other EU countries. Unfortunately, it is the most expensive and least secure form of housing in this country. Threshold’s frontline services are constantly dealing with the serious failings of the private rented sector, and speaking to people at risk of losing their homes due to a variety of issues including disproportionate rent increases and a shortage of supply.

“The current regulatory framework does not support long-term renting and this is simply not acceptable because it does not reflect the reality of Irish society. The figures compiled by the CSO show a dramatic growth of the rented sector in a relatively short space of time. While there are increasing numbers of people entering the private rented sector, supply has now come to a standstill, leading to exorbitant rents. Many people in the sector are paying a significant portion of their income on rent and this is not sustainable.”

John-Mark McCafferty continued: “Threshold recently welcomed the publication of the Government’s rental strategy at the end of last year. We have been advocating for quite some time for a coordinated and strategic approach to the sector. Measures such as rent certainty are welcome but are limited –and should be extended to the whole country. The Government must act immediately to ensure that the increasing number of people living in rental accommodation are adequately protected.”

Threshold recommends the immediate introduction of the following measures, in order to protect and support the one in five households in Ireland now living in the private rented sector:

• Introduction of a Deposit Protection Scheme to protect both tenants and landlords at the end of a tenancy.

• More robust minimum standards legislation, including addressing the issue of fuel poverty.

• NCT for private rental accommodation.

• Increased protection for licencees, such as those in the rent a room scheme.

• Introduce legislation to ensure that both receivers appointed to mortgaged properties and lenders who have initiated repossession proceedings are regarded as the landlord in relation to existing tenancies.

John-Mark McCafferty added: “Threshold provides practical advice and supports for thousands of families every year, many of whom are now at crisis point and at a serious and immediate risk of homelessness. Last year, we reported a 26 per cent rise nationally in the number of tenants seeking advice and support for rent reviews. This dramatic increase underlines the pressure tenants are under.

“The need for a proper rental strategy which includes critical measures to protect tenants has never been greater. Today’s figures show that we are no longer a nation of homeowners, and the fact that greater numbers of Irish people are now renting – whether this is intentional or not – means that the sector must be fit for purpose. If these issues are not addressed, we will see the number of homeless families continue to rise.”

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.

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