23 August 2016
By Bryan Smyth
Figures released today by Threshold, the national housing charity, show a 28 per cent increase nationally in the number of tenants approaching its advice centres in Cork, Dublin and Galway for support in dealing with rent increases. The dramatic increases in rents in recent months is putting some tenants at risk of homelessness, according to the charity, commenting today in response to the latest report from the property website, Daft.ie.
In the first eight months of the year, 705 tenants contacted the charity for advice on dealing with rent increases, up from 549 for the same period in 2015.
Commenting on the figures, Stephen Large, Manager of Threshold in Dublin, said: “The Daft.ie report released today confirms that, while previously double digit annual rent inflation was primarily a Dublin phenomenon, this has now become the norm nationally.
“The increase in the number of people approaching Threshold for advice on rent increases underlines the pressure tenants are under as it is becoming more difficult to secure private rented accommodation with only 3,600 properties advertised in the Daft.ie figures for Q2 2016.”
According to today’s Daft.ie rental report, rents have risen by 11 per cent nationally with the average rent now standing at €1,037 p/m. The highest increase was in Cork city where rents have increased by 18.2 per cent in the past twelve months.
“The rate of increase shows no sign of slowing any time soon, and rents are becoming increasingly unaffordable for many tenants. In extreme cases, rent increases can lead to tenancy breakdown or even homelessness,” continued Mr Large.
Recent changes to the law, introduced by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015, mean that rents can only be increased once in any 24 month period and cannot be over market rent, that is, the rent one could expect to pay on the open market for a similar property in a similar area.
“While the change to the law is welcome, further measures are necessary to regulate rent increases to make the private rented sector a viable housing option” he said.
Threshold has proposed that rent certainty measures are introduced that would link increases in rent during a tenancy to the annual percentage change in the consumer price index, subject to an overall percentage limit over a four year period.
The private rented sector in Ireland has grown in importance in recent years. One in five people now make their home in rented accommodation. The recently published government report on housing and homelessness -Rebuilding Ireland – an Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness identifies the central and fundamental role the private rented sector has to play in delivering social housing support over the coming years, particularly through Rent Supplement and the Housing Assistance Payment.
Tenancy Protection Service
In response to the growing challenges being faced by tenants in the private rented sector, Threshold operates a Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) in Dublin and the commuter counties of Meath, Kildare and Wicklow, Cork city and surrounding areas and Galway. The purpose of the TPS is to prevent tenancy breakdown and the occurrence of homelessness. Since its establishment in June 2014, the service has successfully applied for enhanced rent supplement payments for 2,654 households to keep them in their homes.
Stephen Large added: “The Daft.ie report released today shows that rent increases are not a Dublin or urban issue but affect the entire country. The Tenancy Protection Service has been extremely successful to date in keeping people in their homes and we would call for the immediate national roll out of the service as provided for in the recent government report, Rebuilding Ireland, which provides for the national roll-out of the service.”
Threshold’s Tenancy Protection Service can be contacted by telephone on freephone 1800 454 454.