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Media Releases 2016

Simon Communities urge Government not to miss opportunity to reform Private Rented Sector in forthcoming strategy

The housing and homeless charity respond to increasing rents reported in the RTB Index

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that figures released today from the RTB Rent Index Q3 2016 confirm that the rental market continues to inflate despite rent stability measures introduced last year. The homeless and housing charity said that including full rent certainty in the forthcoming Private Rental Strategy would make a significant impact on the thousands of people struggling to secure or stay in a home.

The latest Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rent index shows that, nationally, rents rose by 8.6% in the third quarter (Q3) of this year, when compared with a year earlier. The index also shows that significant increases were not confined to the Dublin region, but also occurred in other parts of the country. Annual growth in the Dublin market was up by 7.1%. Annual growth in rents for the market outside Dublin recorded growth of 9.7% when compared to the third quarter of 2015. This is in a context when supply is at an all-time low. 

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities
said that the Private Rental Strategy presents an opportunity for the Government to halt this rent inflation and to stem the flow of people into housing insecurity and homelessness.

‘Many of the people who are becoming homeless are coming from the Private Rental Sector. The Private Rental Sector strategy must include rent certainty linking rents to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Such a measure was supported on the cross party report from the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness. It is also crucial to enhance security of tenure for both landlords and tenants. At a minimum the six months probationary period should be removed and the indefinite leases should be introduced, whereby a tenant could only lose their tenancy due to a serious breach of the lease agreement. In addition, landlords with more than three properties should not be able to invoke Section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act in order to issue notice of termination to tenants. We highlighted many of these issues in our submission to the Department of Housing, Planning, Communities and Local Government on the Private Rented Sector. People renting their homes must have the security of knowing that their rents are in line with real market rates. Keeping people in the homes that they already have is vital to stop the flow of people into homelessness. Rent Supplement/HAP limits need to be monitored bi-annually to ensure that they are kept in line with every increasing market rents. The solutions to this crisis involve preventing people from losing their homes and providing access to decent, affordable housing.’

The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 7,500 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis. 

For media queries and interview requests 
Helen McCormack
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141 
E:  communications@simoncommunity.com
 
Homelessness - the numbers 
• During one week in October 2016 (latest available figures), there were 6,847 men, women and children in emergency accommodation across the country; a 26 % increase from the same week in October 2015. This included 2,794 adults with no dependents in their care and 1,178 families made up of 1,583 adults and 2,470 children. (DECLG, October 2016).
• During one night in April 2016, there were 171 people without a place to sleep in Dublin City.  This included 102 people sleeping rough and 69 people sheltering at the Nite Café.  Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture. (DRHE 2015) Figures from Cork Simon Community indicate that rough sleeping in Cork City increased nine-fold in four years (2011-2015).
• Locked Out of the Market III (Simon Communities Study) found that 95% of rental properties are beyond the reach for those in receipt of state housing support. Of all the properties available to rent in the eleven regions studied, only one was available for a single person (Jan 2016) see http://www.simon.ie/Publications/Research.aspx

About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities in Ireland are a network of eight regionally based independent Simon Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East that share common values and ethos in tackling all forms of homelessness throughout Ireland, supported by a National Office. The Simon Communities have been providing services in Ireland for over 40 years.  The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 7,500 individuals and families throughout Ireland who experience – or are at risk of – homelessness every year. Whatever the issue, for as long as we are needed, Simon’s door is always open. For more information please log on to www.simon.ie

Services range from
• Housing provision, tenancy sustainment & settlement services, housing advice & information services helping people to make the move out of homelessness & working with households at risk;
• Specialist health & treatment services addressing some of the issues which may have contributed to homeless occurring or may be a consequence;
• Emergency accommodation & support providing people with a place of welcome, warmth & safety;
• Soup runs & rough sleeper teams who are often the first point of contact for people sleeping rough.  

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