Government must address housing crisis through meaningful provisions for private rented sector in Budget 2018 – Threshold
24 August 2017
Research shows tenancy termination biggest issue for renters contacting housing charity
The Government must use Budget 2018 to introduce measures to create an affordable and suitable supply of rental accommodation across the country. That’s according to the national housing charity, Threshold, which launched its pre-Budget submission today (24.08.17).
As part of its submission, Threshold is calling on the Government to make provision in Budget 2018 to:
- Introduce the Deposit Protection Scheme.
- Provide an appropriate and secure funding framework for the delivery and promotion of housing advice and advocacy supports.
- Increase Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rent Supplement (RS) limits to reflect market rents.
- Ensure local authorities have appropriate resources to carry out inspections of private rented accommodation and to pursue enforcement proceedings. This is part of a move towards an NCT for housing.
- Introduce tax reforms to sustain small scale landlords and to ensure any such measures are contingent on the provision of permanent, quality and affordable rental accommodation.
- Develop a cost rental system of social and affordable rental accommodation.
Commenting, chair of Threshold, Dr Aideen Hayden said: “The housing sector is in crisis at the moment and it is imperative that the Government takes strong and targeted measures in Budget 2018 to address this. In addition to the enormous human cost, this crisis also carries a huge budgetary cost for the State.
“The private rented sector is the third pillar of a functioning housing market and it is one that the Government cannot afford to overlook in its budgetary and policy considerations. In our pre-Budget submission, we have proposed a number of measures to address the standards, affordability, availability and security of tenure issues in the sector.
“These range from the introduction of the promised deposit protection scheme, to the introduction of tax reforms to keep small scale landlords, who make up 91 per cent of the market, in the private rented sector. We would caution that reforms need to reflect the lessons of the past and ensure that any new tax measures increase supply and construction quantities, rather than further stimulating demand and rent inflation.”
Chief executive of Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty added: “For each of our budgetary asks, there is a corresponding policy proposal. These proposals are based on the issues coming to our advice centre staff every day. Matters include the definition of a deposit; loopholes in the rent pressure zone scheme; substandard accommodation; confusion over the definition of a ‘landlord’ in a repossession situation, and tenancy termination, which is the biggest issue our frontline staff has been dealing with this year.
“The enforcement of minimum standards is essential and we are calling on the Government to introduce a gradual ban on renting properties that do not meet minimum standards. As part of this measure, we are also restating our call for an NCT-type certification system for private rented housing, to be monitored by the local authorities.
“If we are to successfully address the housing crisis and to prevent vulnerable people from becoming homeless, provision needs to be made in Budget 2018 to allow such policy proposals to be implemented.”
Recent research conducted by Threshold has shown that tenancy termination has been the biggest issue recorded by its frontline service this year. In a flash survey carried out in the last two weeks of July, more than 100 clients contacted Threshold on this matter. Of these, 85 per cent related to landlords terminating tenancies, with the remainder relating to tenants terminating tenancies.
The top five reasons landlords gave to renters for terminating tenancies were:
- Sale – 41%.
- Landlord / family moving in – 19%.
- Renovations – 12%
- Rent arrears – 8%
- Noise / anti-social behaviour – 4%
Mr McCafferty added: “We are concerned that legislation aimed at providing security for tenants remains inadequate, particularly in the context of loopholes allowing tenancies to be terminated, sometimes in spurious circumstances. We are calling for the introduction of indefinite tenancies and for the Government to make amendments to the law as a matter of priority to protect the position of tenants where properties are being sold or are being repossessed by lenders.”
Both Threshold’s Pre-Budget Submission 2018 and the results of the flash survey can be found on www.threshold.ie.