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Landlords selling a private rental property one of the main drivers of family homelessness in Dublin

The research from homeless charity Focus Ireland examines family homelessness in Dublin.

File photo.
File photo.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A THIRD OF homeless families in Dublin lost their home when a landlord decided to sell the property or move back into it, according to new research published today.

The research from homeless charity Focus Ireland examines family homelessness in Dublin, surveying 237 families who had become homeless in Dublin.

The report looks into the reasons families become homeless, demographics of the homeless population and other issues.

It found that a total of 58% of the families (137) reported that they had to leave their last stable home due to their private rental property being removed from the market or other issues with the private rental sector.

Meanwhile, 30% of those surveyed said they had to leave their last home due to family circumstances. 

Private rental sector issues include:

  • Landlord selling the property – 62 families (26%)
  • Landlord moving back in or giving the property to family – 14 families (6%)
  • Overcrowding in the property – 15 families (65)

Other issues for having to leave include rent increases, landlord renovating, and substandard accommodation. 

Meanwhile family circumstances issues include:

  • Family fall out (including in-laws) – 25 families (11%)
  • Overcrowding in the family home/with family – 21 (9%)
  • Domestic violence (partner) – 12 (5%)
  • Relationship breakdown – 8 (3%)

Homelessness 

Latest Department of Housing figures show that there are now 10,378 people living in homeless emergency accommodation in Dublin, with almost 4,000 of these children. 

This number of homeless families has risen by almost 300%% in the last four years from 429 in Feb 2015 to 1,707 in Feb 2019.

The research shows that 56% of families surveyed come from outside Ireland. It states that a majority had lived here for many years before becoming homeless.

“The research is reinforcing the evidence from our previous work, which shows that homelessness is happening to a large number of families for purely economic reasons – they have held stable tenancies and the events that are leading to their homelessness are entirely beyond their control – they relate to the circumstances and choices made by their landlords,” director of advocacy Mike Allen said. 

While the recently enacted Residential Tenancies Act (2019) includes many welcome measures, including increased sanctions for the tiny minority of landlords who break the rules, it will do nothing to address the most significant factors which are driving homeless upwards. 

The report found that over 75% of families surveyed said they had tried to access properties through the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP).

Almost two-thirds (61%) had applied for over 20 HAP properties each but nearly half felt landlords were reluctant to rent their properties to HAP tenants.

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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