24 July 2022
Continued trend of landlords vacating rental market combined with cost-of-living crisis drives concerns for tenants.
Read the full Q2 2022 Quarterly Impact Report [PDF].
Sunday July 24, 2022: Threshold advisors prevented 1,133 households from entering homelessness between April and June 2022. In total, 1,554 adults and 1,028 children avoided homelessness and managed to remain secure in their homes on foot of Threshold’s assistance.
Given the increasing level of landlords selling or moving into their rented property combined with the challenges households are facing during the cost-of-living crisis, Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service is crucial in helping families stay in their homes.
Previous trends concerning tenancy terminations remain a major concern, with Threshold advisors reporting 60% of clients were at risk of homelessness due to a tenancy termination issued by their landlord. One in two landlords issued a notice of termination on the grounds of sale of the property, while 17% of landlords stated that they required the property for their own use.
Just under half of tenancy termination notices reviewed by Threshold advisors were found to be valid, resulting in the requirement for the tenant to vacate the property by the termination date.
As previously reported by Threshold, this is a continuous and common trend, with thousands of landlords leaving the sector in recent years. The result is a declining number of properties for rent, increasing the risk of homelessness for those being evicted.
One of many impacts
This was the case for Michael, Grainne and their young child. The family of three were renting a home in Dublin for roughly three years when their landlord issued a notice of termination as they required the property for a family member. The family were fortunate to find an alternative property to rent, however within a few weeks of moving out of their original home, they discovered that it was being let for more than €700 than they had been paying.
Michael and Grainne were shocked and disappointed. In addition to unlawfully ending the tenancy, the landlord had breached the Rent Pressure Zone rules. Michael and Grainne contacted the new tenants of the home to let them know of this and reported the landlord to the RTB for breach of Rent Pressure Zone rules and for failing to offer the home back to them prior to advertising it for let.
Threshold’s Policy Officer Ann-Marie O’Reilly, commented on the Q2 Impact Report, stating: “Threshold’s Q2 Impact Report shows that there are ongoing trends that are increasingly worrying, particularly with landlords exiting the market. The recent changes to the Regulation of Providers of Building Works and Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2022 extends the timeframe that tenants have to find a new home and vacate their property, which is very welcome. However, if landlords continue to sell and exit the market there may be no other rental homes to move to, so there must be incentives to retain their place in the current market to ensure supply.”
Increased cost of renting
In a 61 working-day period from April to June, Threshold advisors across Ireland answered an average of 197 calls per day. One of the most common issues among tenants concerned rent increases, with over 200 people contacting Threshold in this timeframe when they received a rent increase notice from their landlord. However, Threshold advisors found that 60% of these rent increase notices were invalid.
Deposit retention continued to be an issue for private renters in this period, with 167 people contacting Threshold for advice on getting a deposit returned by their landlord.
The increased cost-of-living is continuing to place immediate financial pressure on tenants, with Threshold advisors receiving 60 queries from tenants who sought advice on rent arrears. Generally, arrears were as a result of high rents, income reductions, changes in family circumstances or delays in processing the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) or the Rent Supplement Scheme.
Despite positive changes made to HAP, Threshold advisors found that tenants are continuing to face difficulties in the HAP and Rent Supplement Scheme administration, with 59 people contacting Threshold as a result of such difficulties.
Ann-Marie O’Reilly added that: “People living in the private rental sector have faced ongoing financial pressure with rising rents and with the cost-of-living crisis now adding to this pressure, many households are facing tough decisions between paying their bills or putting food on the table. There are numerous supports in place for renters during this difficult time, and Threshold advisors are available to assist people navigate any concerns on rental issues that they may have.”
Threshold’s helpline is open Monday to Friday, 9am- 9pm at 1800 454 454, with webchat at www.threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.