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Only 8% of rental properties are available within rent support limits in Ireland

That’s according to a study conducted by the Simon Communities of Ireland.

Image: Shutterstock/Jozef Sowa

OVER 90% of homes for rent in Ireland are beyond the reach of people dependent on state housing benefits, according to a new Simon Communities study. 

The charity has called for proper monitoring and strict enforcement of the Residential Tenancy Board’s rent pressure zones, after 19 new areas were announced today

The latest edition of the Locked Out of the Market report, published today, found that there were just 8% of properties available on the market to rent (43) which were within Housing Assistance Payment limits. 

HAP is a form of rental benefit payment to assist lower-income households.

Under HAP, a tenant’s main rent is paid directly to a landlord, with the tenant paying a differential rent to their local council. The tenants must cover their own deposit, and no rent is paid by the council in advance of them entering the home.

The research was undertaken over three consecutive days between 2 and 4 April. 

Deeper look

Looking further into the figures, the study found there was just one property available to rent within Rent Supplement (RS) or HAP limits across all study areas for a single person on the dates surveyed. This marks a decrease of four properties since November 2018. 

Just two were available within RS and HAP limits across all areas for a couple over the course of the study, too. 

rent Source: Simon Communities of Ireland

Galway City Centre, Waterford City Centre, Athlone and Sligo town had no rented properties available for any household category on dates surveyed.

Just one property was available in all household categories in north Kildare, Limerick city centre and Portlaoise.

Three suitable properties were found in Dublin City Centre, and five in Cork City Centre.

Reaction

National spokesperson for the Simon Communities, Wayne Stanley, said that the results illustrate how the lack of affordable accommodation in the private rental market is prolonging the current housing crisis.

“This Simon Communities study clearly shows the challenges faced by Rent Supplement or HAP recipients to find a home on the rental market during this crisis,” Stanley said. 

It is alarming that in some of the country’s most-populated urban centres, there is absolutely nowhere for people looking to rent on HAP to live, particularly for singles.

“Single people and families looking for one and two bedroom homes are facing a huge challenge in many parts of the country. Availability of tenure type needs to be addressed urgently,” he said. 

Stanley welcomed today’s announcement by the RTB that rent pressure zones will be extended to 19 new areas nationally. 

“However, in order to make an impact to those living with housing insecurity, these measures will require proper monitoring and strict enforcement,” he said.

Homeless emergency accommodation figures for May show that there are now a combined total of 10,253 people homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland. 

The numbers taken over the course of one week in May show that there were 6,504 adults and 3,749 homeless children living in emergency accommodation in the state. 

“These numbers have risen drastically since the start of this series of reports in May 2015,” Stanley said.

“For a sustainable long-term solution, government commitment and investment in social and affordable housing is urgently needed across all tenure types nationwide.”

 The Simon Communities support over 13,000 men, women and children.

The full report can be found here.

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