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Locked out: Most people on rent benefits still can't afford to rent

Only two properties in 11 locations were available to rent for a single person on State rent benefits.

Image: Shutterstock/Solnechnaja

A SNAPSHOT STUDY has found that state housing benefits aren’t helping people get access to the rent market, and that the number of unavailable properties is growing.

The Simon Communities study looked at 600 properties available to rent and found that 88% were beyond the reach of people dependent on state housing benefits.

Only two of these properties were available to rent for a single person within the rent supplement/Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits and only seven properties were available to couples within these limits over the three-day study period.

The number of rental properties on the market has dropped significantly since the November 2016 study, but the number available to people in receipt of state housing payments also decreased from 17% to just 12% of all properties, indicating an increasing gap between rent supplement/HAP limits and the market rent.

The study was conducted over three consecutive days from 1-3 March 2017.

Rents have increased nationally by 13.4%, in the year to March 2017, according to Daft.ie.

The seventh ‘Locked Out of the Market’ study looked at the prices of properties to rent in eleven locations.

The results represent a fall of 48% – from 1,150 to 600 homes available to rent – in May 2015 when the first Locked Out study was undertaken.

shutterstock_420943198 Source: Shutterstock/Sakarin Sawasdinaka

Niamh Randall, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland:

“People who are single and couples fared particularly badly with only two properties available to rent across the 11 locations falling within rent supplement/HAP limits for a single person. Only seven properties were available for a couple.”

She said that there were stark results in Portlaoise where there were no properties available within any of the housing benefits. “This is an issue all around the country but the impact varies from region to region,” she 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.

“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.”

Read: The average rent in Ireland is now €1,131 – and there aren’t many places to rent

Read: Ireland’s largest private landlord gets ahead of rent caps with its €2,750-per-month units

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