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

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

Image: Shutterstock/Animaflora PicsStock

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 the implementation of many of the proposals included in the new amended Residential Tenancies Bill 2018, which is currently under consideration in the Dáil. 

The 13th 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 (48 properties) which were within Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) 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 21 and 23 November 2018. 

It found that there was a 51% decrease in the number of properties available to rent in November 2018 (569 properties) compared to the first such study in May 2015, when 1,150 properties were available. 

Reaction

Paul Sheehan, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities of Ireland, has said Rent Pressure Zones provided for in existing legislation need to be properly monitored and continuously enforced by the Residential Tenancies Board. 

“More broadly, it is clear that the private sector is struggling to deliver the level of affordable housing needed in this country in the long-term. The Simon Communities of Ireland believe it is vital that the State, in conjunction with Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, build and invest in social and affordable housing across all tenure types nationwide,” Sheehan said.

Homeless emergency accommodation figures for January show that there are now a combined total of 9,987 people homeless and living in emergency accommodation in Ireland, a significant rise of 234 people from December.

The numbers taken over the course of one week in January show that there were 6,363 adults and 3,624 homeless children living in emergency accommodation in the state. 

“Almost 10,000 people were forced to start 2019 in emergency accommodation. Without an accessible private rental sector or affordable housing, people have nowhere to go if they cannot afford to rent,” Sheehan said. 

Deeper look

Looking further into the figures, the study found there only five properties were available to rent within HAP or Rent Supplement (RS) limits across all study areas for a single person on the dates surveyed. 

These properties were located in Athlone (1), Cork City Centre (1), Galway City Centre (1) and north Kildare (2). 

simon Source: Simon Communities of Ireland

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

These were also located in the above locations. 

“It is alarming that in some of the country’s most-populated urban centres, there is absolutely nowhere to rent for people depending on HAP for their housing. Not one property within Rent Supplement/HAP was available across any household category in Limerick City Centre and Waterford City Centre,” Sheehan said. 

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

The full report can be found here

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