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Number of pensioners renting from private landlords has doubled since 2011

The figures were published by the Central Statistics Office this morning and provide an insight into the housing situation across the country.

THE NUMBER OF households headed by someone of pension age or over renting from a private landlord rose to almost 17,000 in 2022 according to Census data, and increase of 83% since the last census in 2016. 

For privately rented households headed by a person aged between 60 and 64, this figure rose by 69% in the same period. 

The figures were published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) this morning and provide an insight into the situation for renters across the country. 

While the highest proportion of renters was made up of younger people in 2022, since the 2016 census, “significant increases were recorded in the number of dwellings rented by households headed by a person aged 60 years or over”.

To put this sharp increase in a wider context, in 2011 the number of privately renting households headed by someone 65 and over was 8,477 in 2011, in 2016 that number was 9,301 and in 2022 it stood at 16,986. 

For the 60 to 64 bracket, the number went from 5,455 in 2011 to 6,582 in 2016 and then reached 11,123 in 2022. 

For people renting from a private landlord who are aged 25 to 29, the trend has gone in the other direction, with the total number falling steadily over the three censuses, going from 72,296 in 2011 to 54,348 in 2016 and then down to 47,339 in 2022.

In the 2016 to 2022 period, the number of occupied dwellings rented from a private landlord increased by 7% overall to over 330,000.

The cost of renting

When it comes to how much people are paying in rent, there was a significant increase between 2016 and 2022. The average weekly rent rose by 37% in that period. 

The average rent increased to €273 per week in Census 2022, an increase of 37% from €200 per week in 2016. This is a much higher rise that the one seen between 2011 and 2016, which was 17%.

The highest average rents were all found in Dublin and ranged from €349 per week in South Dublin to €442 per week in the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown area. 

Outside of the capital, Cork City and Galway City were the counties with the highest rise in average rent prices. Renters in Cork City paid an average of €297 per week while those in Galway City paid and average of €292.

Donegal and Leitrim had the lowest average weekly rents in the country in 2022 at €134 and €137 respectively.  

Between 2016 and 2022 rents rose fasted in Longford, where they went up by 51% to €152 per week. Close behind were Louth (€233 per week), Westmeath (€197 per week)   and Clare (€188 per week), where the average went up by 47%. 

Another striking figure among the census data showed that the number of landlords charging over €400 per week rose substantially between 2016 and 2022.

There were over 52,000 households paying a weekly rent of €400 or more to private landlords last year. This is an enormous rise when compared with just 13,232 households in 2016.

Opposition rection

Responding to today’s publication from the CSO today, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said:

“Today’s CSO 2022 Census housing report highlights some very worrying trends. Average rents have increased by 37% since 2016, despite the existence of Rent Pressure Zones. The number of older renters have increased by a dramatic 83% during the same period.

“Meanwhile new home ownership continues to fall while almost 50,000 homes were vacant from 2016 to 2022.

“These figures are a damning incitement of seven years of failed Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael housing policy.”

Labour leader Ivana Bacik also had strong words for the Government in response to the figures, describing the situation as “a ticking timebomb”.

“Our social security system and our system of care for older people is predicated on the assumption that older people will own their own home. Already, so many people – young and old – are suffering due to the broken private rented sector and the lack of housing supply.

“The direction of travel which is indicated by these new Census figures would indicate that the Government is in possession of a ticking time bomb.

“More and more people are renting in Ireland but fewer and fewer renters can afford to do so. Labour representatives are now hearing more regularly from people in their sixties and seventies who are in serious housing distress.

“Many of them are facing eviction – an awful reality for someone to face at any age but, particularly, as an older person.”

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