Thursday 19 September 2019

Majority of homeless have been evicted by landlords in the private rental sector

Council chief says it's 'ruining' any progress in solving housing crisis

Frustrated: Brendan Kenny, Dublin City Council housing chief. Photo: Damien Eagers
Frustrated: Brendan Kenny, Dublin City Council housing chief. Photo: Damien Eagers
Ryan Nugent

Ryan Nugent

Up to 70pc of those presenting as homeless have been evicted by landlords in the private rental sector, senior council bosses have said.

Dublin City Council housing chief Brendan Kenny said that while the council is building more hubs and making more accommodation available, the number of homeless presentations each month is "killing us" and landlord evictions are "ruining" progress made in solving the housing crisis.

More than 50pc of 200 families presenting to the country's largest authority each month are coming from evictions and notices to quit in the private sector, and the number is on the rise.

Separately, Fingal County Council estimates that the numbers who have been evicted to be at 70pc.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Kenny said that more needs to be done on securing tenancies in the private sector.

"We're still getting about 200 families a month coming in presenting as homeless, mainly coming from the private rented sector. We've a private rental sector that's dysfunctional, it's just not working and that's the biggest issue for us," he said.

The council assistant chief executive insisted every effort is being done on its side to provide more accommodation.

"All that's being ruined by the fact that the amount of presentations coming in has been increasing all the time.

"You're talking about 2,400 a year and well over 50pc of that is coming from the private sector. That is the problem.

"It hasn't made the impact because of the amount of presentations actually increasing.

"It hasn't gone down at all and has increased significantly in the last couple of months."

However, while Mr Kenny said tenancies needed to be more secure, he insisted that they must not scare landlords away, saying "we need them".

Fingal County Council chief executive Paul Reid also lamented the number of notices to quit in his area.

Mr Reid pointed to a deadline given by then-housing minister Simon Coveney to have all families out of hotels and B&Bs by July 2017.

He said that was unrealistic due to the sheer number of presentations.

"One of the challenges on that issue was the presentations, the people that were coming up presenting as homeless was rising, 70pc of our presentations now to our counters are for people who have notices to quit, where the landlord has said 'I want it (the apartment/house) back' or 'I want do something with it' or 'I want it for my son' or whatever," said Mr Reid.

"On average per month we're getting about 60 presentations a month. That's a real issue for us, so we would be saying to the minister and the department to strengthen the policy around quick evictions and secondly strengthen the capacity of the RTB to monitor that."

Mr Reid said that Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has committed to bringing in legislation on this - which he says has come on the back of pressure from the local councils.

The Department of Housing has said that the enactment of this legislation is a priority in 2019.

The department is aware that many individuals presenting to homeless services have previously held a tenancy in private rented accommodation. The minister recently published legislation to strengthen tenants' rights and the enactment of this legislation will be a priority in 2019.

Irish Independent

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