Monday 25 June 2018

Revealed: Why the Government is about to spend €60k studying renters

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The Department of Housing is set to spend up to €60,000 studying renters to find out who wants to buy and who is happy to continue renting, Independent.ie has learned.

The department, which has come under pressure in recent weeks due to the escalating housing and homelessness crisis, has published a tender this week looking for consultants to carry out the research project.

The Department of Finance will also oversee the policy.

The goal of the project is to inform policy making going forward and will look to "explore any differences concerning beliefs, perceived benefits, home ownership preferences, and other characteristics distinguishing renters who wish to purchase from other renters".

The research project is entitled Tenure Choices: Aspirations, Expectations and Perspectives.

A representative sample of renters aged between 25 and 50 will be studied and detailed lab experiments will also be carried out to study "tenure choice and financial considerations".

In the tender documents the cost of the consultancy is estimated to be up to €60,000 excluding vat.

When contacted by Independent.ie with further questions, a department spokesperson quoted the tender document extensively.

Latest figures show nearly one in four tenants are now paying a monthly rent of more than €1,300. And house prices are set to rise by 15pc over the next three years, according to a recent study conducted by the Central Bank.

Christy Burke, who last Friday chained himself to Custom House in protest at the escalating homelessness crisis, said that people being forced out of rental accommodation are "flooding" the homelessness sector.

"The reason people have to rent is that they can't afford to buy and they end up caught in a trap and are not able to get savings together," he said.

"I've been saying all along there needs to be a cap on rent prices and I don't know why the Government is running away from it."

"I would ask how long is this research going to take and how long is it going to take to get some type of policy," he added.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has repeatedly said that more radical measures need to be taken to stem the flow of people into homelessness and to stimulate the housing market.

Following a housing summit which took place last Friday in Dublin with the heads of the country's local authorities the Government announced a new suite of measures to tackle the housing crisis.

Minister Eoghan Murphy announced that government will offer homeless families from Dublin the chance of a house in rural counties, in a radical bid to ease the current crisis.

Those wishing to move to other parts of the country will be assisted under the first part of this new housing strategy.  'The Place Finder Service' was previously discussed in the Programme for Government talks.

In a range of measures and promises announced after the summit, the Housing Minister said an extra 200 extra emergency beds will be delivered for homeless people by December. 

Minister Murphy also pledged to build an extra 800 social homes next year bringing the total from 3,000 to 3,800.

A further €10m in funding for more Family Hubs is being ring-fenced, as demand arises from Local Authorities, to be drawn this year.

Minister Simon Harris plans to increase his department's annual social inclusion budget for homelessness to €36m in 2018. 

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