Monday 23 October 2017

'Ireland's private rented market is not working' - 90pc of rental properties not available to people on housing benefits

Stock Image: GETTY
Stock Image: GETTY

Kathy Armstrong

Nearly 90 per cent of rental properties available are out of reach to people on housing supports, the Simon Community has revealed.

The leading housing charity did an examination of our rental market over three days and found that of the 600 properties available, just 12pc were affordable within the Rent Supplement/HAP payments limits.

Their research found that just two of these were affordable to a single person within RS/HAP limits and seven for a couple who receive those payments.

The Simon Community has declared that "Ireland’s private rented market is not working."

They were speaking today as they launched their Locked Out of the Market campaign which calls for the Government to act urgently to tackle the problem.

They highlighted that rents soared by 13.4pc in the year to March and that there are now 48pc less homes available to let than there were in May 2015.

The Simon Community said spiralling rent and not enough supply is putting people at risk of homelessness (Stock)
The Simon Community said spiralling rent and not enough supply is putting people at risk of homelessness (Stock)

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National Spokeswoman for the Simon Communities in Ireland Niamh Randall said: "Ireland’s private rented market is not working. People who rent have very little security and can face increases in rent that they cannot meet.

"Many people who are becoming homeless are coming from the private rental sector. They have lost their home and cannot afford to put a roof over their heads. Some stay with extended family and, when that fails, they enter homelessness.

"Nearly 7,500 people remain trapped in emergency accommodation; they are locked out of the private rented market because rents are too high and supply is too low.

"It is often their only option of finding a home. The gap between housing benefit payments and market rents is just too wide for people who are struggling, people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

"The Simon Communities Locked Out of the Market campaign highlights the urgent need for three common sense solutions; full rent certainty by linking rents to the Consumer Price Index, provide people with greater security of tenure and increase, monitor and adjust Rent Supplement/HAP payments regularly.

Niamh Randall, spokesperson for the Simon Communities Photo: Jason Clarke
Niamh Randall, spokesperson for the Simon Communities Photo: Jason Clarke

"These must keep pace with market rents or they become ineffective, as is currently the case. Any measures put in place must impact all tenancies and limit rent increases within all tenancies."

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She also said that the Government must act faster to help those who need it.

Ms Randall said: "The Government’s plan for Rebuilding Ireland is welcome but moving far too slowly. In the absence of sufficient supply of social housing, the private rented sector is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond given the sheer scale of the problem.

"Housing should not be a commodity. Everyone is entitled to a safe, secure and affordable home and renting must not be a barrier to this."

The full report "Locked Out of the Market VII: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’" is available to read here.

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