- Advisors answered 11,195 telephone queries between October and December last
- Over 50% of tenancy termination notices, outside of property sales, were found to be invalid by Threshold advisors in Q4 2022
- Many renters still not aware of their rights or free assistance available from Threshold
Read Threshold’s Quarterly Impact Report Q4 2022.
Tuesday, 17 January 2023: Advisors in the national housing charity Threshold supported 17,012 individuals in the final quarter of 2022, including 10,555 adults and 6,457 children. According to the charity’s Q4 2022 Impact Report, advisors answered over 11,000 calls and responded to over 2,500 webchats from private renters facing tenancy issues.
Between October and December 2022, Threshold prevented a total of 1,041 households from entering homelessness. In all 1,409 adults and 917 children were able to stay in their homes or were supported to secure alternative housing. Of the clients who made first contact with Threshold in Q4, 1,837 were at risk of homelessness. As in previous quarters of the year, the majority of these renters were at risk of homelessness as their landlord was choosing to sell the home.
Speaking on the report, Threshold’s National Advocacy Manager Ann-Marie O’Reilly stated:
“Threshold is continuing to see high volumes of private renters contacting our advisors, with tenancy terminations remaining the highest concern facing those in private rental accommodation. Most of these termination notices are as a result of the landlord deciding to sell the home – and the majority of these notices are valid – renters are being placed at immediate risk of homelessness, particularly with so few properties available to rent.”
Notices of termination
Threshold advisors continue to assess notices of termination brought to them by private renters in line with the Residential Tenancies Acts. In Q4 2022, just over 40% of notices of termination for sale of property were found to be invalid by Threshold advisors, while over 60% of notices citing rent arrears as a cause for termination, were deemed invalid. Just over 50% of notices that stated that the landlord or a family member was moving into the property, were invalid. When a notice is invalid Threshold can help the renter stay in their home.
Eviction Case Study:
Stasya and Lukas had been renting their home for more than 10 years. Then one day in 2022 the landlord announced that he was increasing the rent by €600. When Stasya and Lukas explained there was no way they could afford this, the landlord said he would have to sell the home. The couple were in shock. They couldn’t pay the new rent, so the landlord gave them a notice of termination which stated his intention to sell the home.
They set about looking for somewhere new to live and were relieved when they found another home. The rent was higher than they could really afford but they had little choice; they would manage it somehow. When they asked the landlord to return their deposit, he said he was retaining it, as he needed it to bring the property up to standard to relet. The coupled could not believe it. They had left their home of 10 years believing it was to be sold only to find out this was not the case.
They rang Threshold.
Straightaway the Threshold advisor was able to tell them that the proposed rent increase was not valid as they had been renting in a Rent Pressure Zone, where increases are capped at 2%. The advisor also told them that the landlord was legally obliged to offer them back the tenancy, as he was not selling it after all. Failing to do so meant he had unlawfully terminated the tenancy and the couple could lodge a dispute with the RTB.
The Threshold advisor assisted Stasya and Lukas to lodge a dispute with the RTB for unlawful termination and for the return of their deposit. Their advisor was with them every step of the way, providing support at the RTB adjudication. The adjudicator awarded the couple the maximum sum possible for the unlawful termination of the tenancy and the retention of the deposit. While this provides the couple with a sense of justice it does not return them to their home of more than 10 years.
Commenting on this case and the ongoing crisis in the private rental sector, Ann-Marie O’Reilly said:
“We strongly urge any private renter who is facing challenges in their tenancy or who has any queries about their rights as a tenant, to contact Threshold immediately. There are laws out there that offer protection, and our advisors are very familiar with these and their application.
“The fact that we received over 11,000 calls in the space of three months from the public shows that there is a real need for our service. People should not panic or take any immediate action if they receive an eviction notice, or a steep rent rise – they should contact Threshold first. A significant portion of these notices are invalid and therefore the tenant has some recourse.
“No-one should be afraid to legitimately challenge their landlord, and that is what Threshold can help you to do if you get in touch with us.”
Threshold’s free 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.