Spiralling rent increases must be stopped to prevent homelessness - Threshold
14 February 2017
The national housing charity Threshold, has today (14.02.2017) commented on the latest Daft.ie rental price report for the last quarter of 2016 which indicates that rents increased nationally by 13.5 percent – the largest increase in the history of the report, issued since 2002.
Commenting today, John-Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive Officer of Threshold, said: “This dramatic rise in rents is the biggest increase we have seen since the Daft report commenced – during boom times – but unfortunately, it comes as no surprise. The Daft report reflects accurately the rent increase Threshold’s clients have been subject to, and is the reason why we have been asking for rent certainty measures to be introduced as an urgent priority.
“We speak to hundreds of individuals and families around the country every day who are suffering due to rapidly increasing rents and difficulty finding affordable accommodation. Last year, Threshold reported a 26 per cent rise nationally in the number of tenants seeking advice and support for rent reviews, which is pushing families to the brink of homelessness.
“This increase in the number of people approaching Threshold for advice on rent reviews and increases underlines the pressure tenants are under. Significant rent increases and unaffordable rents pose a real threat to all tenants, and can result in the most vulnerable, low-income tenants being squeezed out of the market and in some cases, falling into homelessness.
“The private rented sector is home for one in five households in Ireland, yet this sector is also the most expensive and least secure form of housing in Ireland. Tenants need and deserve greater protection, and the Government must act immediately to provide an affordable and secure private rented sector. If these issues are not addressed, we will see the number of homeless families continue to rise.”
The most recent Daft.ie Rental Report, published today, outlines that in the final three months of 2016, the average monthly national rent stood at a record €1,111. This is the third consecutive quarter in which this figure has increased. In Dublin, the annual rate of rent inflation in 2016 was 14.5 per cent, with rents in this area now at an average of €1,643.
Speaking today, Aideen Hayden, Chair of Threshold commented: “Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service was established in 2014 to address the growing challenges faced by tenants in the private rented sector, and now operates in Dublin, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow, Cork and Galway. It is working - last year alone, the service prevented 8,550 people (including 4,483 children) from becoming homeless.
“The Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector outlined plans to introduce rent certainty to alleviate pressure on tenants in areas where rents are rising most quickly in Dublin and Cork, and we welcomed announcements last month that additional rental pressure zones will be added in a further 23 towns and all of Galway city.
“It is too early to gauge the impact of the new legislative measures – they need to be monitored and Threshold will monitor activities in Rent Pressure Zones and also in non-Rent Pressure Zones in the coming months. It is critical that the Department of Housing allocates sufficient resources for an effective public awareness campaign to inform people of their new and existing rights as tenants.
“We work at the forefront of preventing homelessness and we are concerned that measures to lower rent increases are not the only solution. Our tenancy protection services are increasingly seeing tenants coming to us because they are at risk of homelessness as a result of the sale of their rented homes. Any impact on landlords and disruption in the market needs to be understood, given that some landlords are under pressure because they are in significant mortgage arrears.
“While ensuring fairness for tenants, we need to retain good landlords in the sector. To this end, Threshold will be making submissions to the working groups on the tax treatment of landlords and on receiverships respectively. The legislation needs to reconsider sale as a legitimate reason for terminating a tenancy, as Threshold has previously outlined to Government in our submission on the Private Rented Sector.
“It is clear from today’s report, that the issue of rent uncertainty and unaffordable housing is worsening. Skyrocketing rent increases are placing hundreds of families across the country at risk of homelessness. The crisis in the private rental sector is a national issue that requires a national and sustainable response, and the most vulnerable, low income tenants, must be a priority for the Government.”
Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service can be contacted by telephone on freephone 1800 454 454.
Threshold wishes to acknowledge funding received from the Scheme to Support National Organisations 2016-2019 and the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.