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Threshold welcomes extension of Moratorium

16 July 2020

Charity expresses concern at rent increases

National housing charity Threshold has today welcomed the extension of the moratorium on rent increases and evictions but says it awaits further clarity on the duration of the extension and if there are any changes to the ban. The extension comes as the Residential Tenancies Board’s (RTB’s) Q1 2020 rent index reveals that there has been a 5.4% national increase in rent year-on-year, with a 5.3% increase in Dublin and, more worryingly, a 10.5% increase in the Greater Dublin Area (excluding Dublin). Threshold has expressed concern about these ongoing rent increases across Ireland.

Responding to the RTB’s newest index, CEO of Threshold, John McCafferty said: “The national increase is a cause of worry, in particular the 10.5% increase in the Greater Dublin Area outside of the city – the largest year-on-year increase since Q2 2016, when rents were already out of control.

The RTB has also published early insights into its index for the for the first half of 2020. “A drop of approximately 3% between January and June 2020 is positive,” McCafferty noted. “Given that there was a moratorium on rent increases from March onward one would expect that there would be some relaxing in rents. However, given that there was a 6.4% year-on-year increase in the national average rent between February 2019 and February 2020, this decrease will have little positive impact on renters on a day-to-day basis. We need to see a sustained drop in rents for the rental sector to become a viable, affordable tenure of choice.”

According to the index, in Q1 2020 the average rent for Dublin was €1,735; €1,156 in Galway city and €1,199 in Cork city. “On daft.ie today – 16th July – there are 19 properties in Cork ranging from €750 to €1,200: each of these is a one-bed.” “For context, the maximum Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limit in Cork city is €950 and this is for a family with three children. There is a total of 25 properties for less than €1,150 a month offered in Galway; the majority of these are single and twin, room-by-room lets aimed at students. The rent for a three-bed house-share starts at approximately €1,400 and goes as high as €2,500.

“There is much more to be done to bring rents to affordable levels and provide suitable homes for individuals and families. The continuation of the moratorium on rent increases signalled today means that rents should not increase for the time being. This, combined with the moratorium on evictions, will continue to have a positive impact on reducing homelessness and the number of families having to stay in emergency accommodation.

Rent Pressure Zones

“We welcome the expansion of the Rent Pressure Zones to incorporate Bandon-Kinsale. Given the fact that the majority of the country is now designated a Rent Pressure Zone, the new Government now needs to take the opportunity to enact imaginative and progressive policies on house building. We look forward to continued positive engagement with the new Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien TD, on issues regarding homeless prevention, better outcomes for tenants and affordable rental housing supply.”