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Just 7% of rental properties are available within rent support limits

Simon Communities has published a new report looking at the issue.

Image: Getty Images/Moment RF

THE PRIVATE RENTAL system is “not working” for people who rent and receive Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) payments, Simon Communities says.

It makes the comments in a new report that looks at the gap between Rent Supplement/HAP limits and market rents, demonstrating the issues facing people who are looking for private rented accommodation while in receipt of these payments.

Simon pointed out that the number of properties available to rent within the private rental system stands at fewer than 3,150 properties, down over 20% on Quarter 4 2016 and the lowest recorded for that time of year.

It says that the combination of these factors “has created an incredibly expensive and competitive market place, rendering RS/HAP payments ineffectual, and making it increasingly difficult for recipients of these payments to secure a home”.

It is calling for an ongoing review and adjustment of RS/HAP limits in order to counter the negative impact of private rental market volatility on the provision of social housing supports for people who have the greatest need in society.

The report also says that as it is clear that the majority of landlords in rent protection zones will increase their rents by the maximum 4% annually, then RS/HAP limit increases of at least 4% in these zones “will allow households in receipt of state housing payments to compete”.

People who are single and couples are disproportionately affected by the inadequacy of RS/HAP limits and poor supply in the private rented sector, says the report.

Snapshot study

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This report summarises the results of a snapshot study undertaken over three consecutive days in February 2018 (13, 14, and 15) to track the number of properties available to rent within the Department of Social Protection Rent Supplement (RS) limits and Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) HAP limits.

Details were gathered from Daft.ie for Cork city centre; Dublin city centre; Galway city centre; Limerick city centre; Portlaoise; North Kildare; Athlone; Sligo Town; Dundalk; Leitrim; and Waterford city centre.

According to the Daft.ie 2017 Quarter 4 Rental Report, rents rose nationwide by an average of 10.4% in the year to December 2017, bringing rents to an all-time high.

There were fewer than 3,150 properties available to rent nationwide on 1 February, down over 20% on the same date a year ago and the lowest recorded for this time of year.

Main findings

The report found that there were 532 properties available to rent with no minimum cost, a minor decrease since the previous study in November 2017 when 538 properties were available to rent across all 11 areas.

One year ago, 600 properties were available to rent with no minimum cost.

It found 93% (493 properties) of all properties available to rent were above Rent
Supplement/HAP limits – this figure was 91.5% in November 2017, and 88% in March 2017.

Just 7% of all properties available to rent (39 properties) were available within the limits for the four categories included in this study, dropping from 8.5% (46 properties) in the November 2017 study, and 12% (72 properties) in the March 2017 study.

There were three properties available to rent within Rent Supplement/HAP limits across all study areas for a single person – an increase of three properties since November 2017 and 1 property when compared to March 2017. These properties were located in Sligo (2) and Waterford City Centre (1).

Three properties were available to rent within RS/HAP limits across all 11 areas for a couple over the course of the study representing an increase of 1 property since November 2017. These properties were located in Sligo (1) and Dublin City Centre (2).

Seven properties were available within this category in March 2017.

But Athlone, Galway City Centre, Portlaoise and Limerick City Centre recorded no properties available across all four-study categories.

PastedImage-38626 Source: Simon Communities stats

The number of available properties within RS/HAP limits in urban centres has dropped
from 11 properties in November 2017 to eight properties in February 2018. This figure stood at 28 properties in March 2017.

Average rent for a one-bedroom property was 49% higher than the average Rent Supplement/HAP limits for a single person across the 11 study locations.

The report found that the disparity between market rent and Rent Supplement/HAP rent limits ranged from 213% higher in Dublin city centre to 6% higher in Leitrim.

  • The average rent reported for a one-bedroom property in the November 2017 study was 43% higher than the average Rent Supplement/HAP limits for a single person across 10 locations.
  • In March 2017, the average rent for a one-bedroom property was 35% higher than the average Rent Supplement/HAP limits for a single person across 10 study locations.
  • Average rent for a two-bedroom property was 49% higher than the average RS/HAP limits for a couple/one-parent with two children across all 11 locations.

This ranged from 125% higher than Rent Supplement/HAP limits in Dublin city centre to 11% less than Rent Supplement/HAP limits in Dundalk.

Average rent for a two-bedroom property in November 2017 was 30% higher than the average Rent Supplement/HAP limits.

In March 2017, the average rent for a two-bedroom property was 17% higher than the average Rent Supplement/HAP limits for a couple/one parent and two children.

You can read the full report here.

Read: ‘Landlord said it was none of his business’: Tenants left ‘in limbo’ after vulture funds buy property>

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