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Threshold Welcomes NESC Rental Sector Report

14 May 2015

Threshold, the national housing charity, has welcomed the publication today (13.05.15) of the latest report on Ireland’s rental sector and measures to secure occupancy and affordable supply. The report was published by the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) as a contribution to the Government’s development of a new national policy for the private rental sector.

According to Threshold, the report ‘Ireland’s Rental Sector: Pathways to Secure Occupancy and Affordable Supply’ supports four key areas which the housing charity has been highlighting in recent years, including: rent certainty measures; security of tenure; buy-to-let mortgage arrears; and the delivery of the Social Housing Strategy.

Senator Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said: “We welcome the recommendations in today’s NESC report, particularly in relation to the introduction of a system of rent regulation in order to provide greater certainty for tenants and landlords alike. We believe it is essential to stem the growing tide of homelessness and ensure families can afford to remain in their homes.

“The Government needs to regulate the rental market, so that unfair rent hikes of 20, 30 and 40 per cent currently faced by Threshold’s clients are avoided in future years. One-fifth of families in Ireland now rent their homes, and they need to be given certainty that they will not continue to be subjected to unaffordable rent increases. Until a system of rent regulation is introduced, those living in the private rented sector will continue to face this risk.”

“In addition, Threshold welcomes the recommendation to change the existing system of four year security to a regime in which tenancies are of indefinite duration. The current security of tenure provisions are wholly inadequate for long-term renters and families, particularly those with children of school going age. Increased security of tenure together with rent certainty will mean that they can live in the same geographical area, attend the same school, and become part of a community without facing the fear of having to uproot their family or becoming homeless.

“We strongly welcome the NESC report’s recognition of the need for a more strategic approach for buy-to-let mortgage arrears. Threshold has dealt with over 1,000 clients since 2012 who have been negatively affected by the fact that their landlord has gone into mortgage arrears. The scale of the problem is indeed a threat to the private rented sector, and regulation and clear legislation is greatly needed in this area, for both tenants and property-owners.”

Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of Threshold, said: “A critical recommendation in the NESC report today is that calling for the vigorous delivery of the Social Housing Strategy. Threshold has welcomed the Government’s commitment to deliver additional 35,000 additional social housing units by 2020, as well as more secure homes in the private rented sector.

“Through our daily contact with households nationwide, Threshold is well aware that the needs of many vulnerable tenants would be better suited to social housing provided by a local authority or housing association. In recent years, the State has become over-reliant on the private sector to provide housing for people with a housing need and it is time for a more balanced approach that involves increased provision of social housing as well as a more secure private rented sector.”