Sunday 25 September 2016

'Families falling into homelessness everyday due to lack of rent certainty and rent increases'

Sam Griffin

Published 16/06/2015 | 11:36

Introducing ‘rent certainty’ would also benefit landlords as it would remove the boom and bust nature of the sector, Senator Aideen Hayden said.
Introducing ‘rent certainty’ would also benefit landlords as it would remove the boom and bust nature of the sector, Senator Aideen Hayden said.

A LEADING housing campaign group says families are falling into homelessness everyday because of a lack of rent certainty and spiralling rent increases of up to 50pc.

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Senator Aideen Hayden, chairperson of Threshold, was speaking this morning at the Generation Rent private rental sector conference in Dublin.

She said introducing ‘rent certainty’ would also benefit landlords as it would remove the boom and bust nature of the sector. She said landlords suffered by rent drops of 30pc in the financial crash and such measures would remove the fluctuations in the market.

“Everyday of the week we’re seeing tenants coming into us with 20pc, 30pc, 40pc and even 50pc rent increases,” she said.

“We’re seeing families falling into homeless everyday of the week because they cannot keep, and they cannot get, accommodation.

She added if the country wants to escape the boom and bust cycle, “there must be certainty in the system to allow the rental market to grow in the Irish economy”.

She said Threshold would also be lobbying the government to introduce an ‘NCT-styled’ assessment of private accommodation to ensure fit-for-purpose housing.

This would put the onus on the landlord and not the local authority to ensure tenants are not forced to live in substandard conditions, she said.

The conference is continuing throughout the day. Earlier it also heard from Prof Peter Kemp from Oxford University.

He compared the Irish rental market with that in the UK which suffered similar collapse during the financial crash. He said housing completion rates fell from nearly 400,000 to 150,000 in the UK from 1970 to 2015.

He said like Ireland, the private rental sector is now growing in the UK at the expense of owner occupier dwellings. However he said the sector had not adapted to the changes and remained “geared towards short-term accommodation” despite more and more families now renting homes.

Prof Kemp said the “key issue” remained a lack of supply but he also said changes to taxes on landlords could alleviate the current situation.

Asked about introducing rent certainty, he stressed against “rushing into” such measures and instead suggested “installing 100pc mortgage tax relief for landlords” to tackle the problem.

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