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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 24 September, 2019
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Little relief for renters as Rent Supplement and rent cap omitted from Budget

There was dismay by many groups that the there was nothing to combat spiralling rents.

Image: blmurch

THERE WAS LITTLE ease for renters who were listening in on yesterday’s Budget announcement.

There was no announcement of any rent control/cap and no increase in the Rent Supplement.

This was much to the dismay of many groups who said there is little point investing in social housing and homelessness when people are being forced out of their homes due to increasing rental prices.

Spiralling rents

Pat Doyle CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said that decision not to address rent supplement meant people would struggle to afford spiralling rent costs:

We are disappointed that the Government decided not to increase rent supplement levels or introduce measures to stop rental prices increasing beyond the reach of many people. We hope that the Government will revisit this issue as it is essential that rent supplement levels more closely reflect the cost of private market rents.

Budget Day 2015. Pictured is Minister F Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said yesterday the market is “not currently meeting the needs of our citizens”, either in private, social and rental market.

The only announcement he made in terms of rental properties is that the Home Renovation Incentive is to be extended to rental properties whose owners pay income tax.

Landlords can now avail of the Home Renovation Incentive scheme, which Noonan said he expected “to be reflected in rent levels”.

Dublin

Last month, the Private Residential Tenancies Board said rents in Dublin are up 10%. The average monthly rent for a house in Dublin is now €1,275 and €1,134 for an apartment.

Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty criticised the Government’s avoidance to the issue, stating that the private rental market is in crisis.

Rent supplement caps introduced by the Táiniste have forced hundreds of families into homelessness. Local authorities are being forced to house these families in hotels at huge cost to the state and the families involved.
Can you imagine Minister what it must be like to be forced out of your home because you can no longer afford the rising market rents and because Joan Burton capped the rent supplement payments while refusing to introduce rent caps.

Homeless Families Protests Jennifer Morris pictured at a protest held in May of this year. Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Focus Ireland said it was “highly concerned” that there was no mention of Rent Supplement in the Budget when they said it is the failure of this payment that is the main reason for the rising number of families losing their homes and becoming homeless.

“The majority of the growing number of families have lost their homes because they couldn’t afford to pay rising rents as their rent supplement payment didn’t cover it,” said the Director of Advocacy, Mike Allen, who added that people are being forced into arrears and are then losing their homes.

He said this will keep on happening until rent supplement payments are raised to match market rents.

Pushing people into homelessness

“Rent supplement levels are a huge problem, both pushing people into homelessness and preventing people from leaving homelessness, and this Budget does not appear to address the problem at all,” said Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities.

She said that it is impossible to find accommodation that falls within the supplement limits, giving an example of Sligo town, where rents for a one-bedroom flat are €100 to €200 above the Rent Supplement limits of €400 for a single person.

Randall added that the new Central Bank rules for first time buyers mean that people will not be moving on from the rental market, making it even more crowded.

“There also needs to be rent control to ensure that families and single people can secure – and keep – a stable and secure home in the private rented sector,” said Allen.

Allen said this is done in other countries, like Denmark and should be done here also, adding:

If the government is telling people they must find their homes in the private rented market it is up to the Government to ensure that it is possible for a family and other people to get a secure and long-term home. Not one where they are at the mercy of constantly rising rents and no real security.

PICTURES: The winners and losers* of Budget 2015>

Read: ‘Young and active farmers’ will benefit from today’s Budget>

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