The national housing charity, Threshold, has sought clarity on whether the emergency moratorium on evictions and rent increases will be extended beyond the current June 27th end date. Threshold was commenting on the Daft Q1 2020 report which showed a slight drop in advertised rental prices between March and April 2020, as the fall-out from the COVID19 restrictions were sweeping the country.
Spokesperson for Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty, said, ‘despite massive drops in household income, and a moratorium on rent increases in place, rents did increase in most of the country. There was a small drop in Connacht/Ulster and rents remained the same in Dublin. In general, decreases in rents to date have been extremely modest. A much more significant drop in rents is required in order for the private rented sector to be affordable for the vast majority of renters.’
The regional disparities can also be seen in the most recent set of homeless figures released by the Dept Housing, Planning and Local Government. Threshold welcomed the number of people experiencing homelessness reducing. The drop in the April figures was down to the reduction in numbers in Dublin. However, the number of people in emergency accommodation increased slightly in some areas in the month of April – the Mid-East (Dublin commuter counties), the North-West (Sligo-Donegal) and the Midlands (Westmeath, Offaly and Laois).
‘The number of households availing of rent supplement in May was only a quarter more than the same figure in February, despite the hundreds of thousands of job losses that have occurred since the onset of the pandemic. With so many out of work and without the support of rent supplement, we must remain vigilant about changes in the private rented sector to ensure people receive the supports they need, are not forced into paying unlawful rent increases and are not put at risk of homelessness as a result of rent arrears’, said McCafferty. ‘Landlords and tenants need to engage, and rents need to be negotiated down. This is not the time for rent increases,’ McCafferty concluded.