The Simon Communities in Ireland say that figures released today from the Daft.ie 2017 Q2 Rental Report indicating rents have reached an all new high, show the private rental market continues to struggle in coping with demand. The housing and homelessness organisation say the rental market is not capable of delivering the housing needed to respond to the current housing and homeless crisis, given the sheer scale of the problem.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities:
‘The soaring rents and plummeting supply within the private rented sector must be constantly monitored and addressed. These issues are preventing people from finding and sustaining affordable homes within the rental market. This in the fifth quarter in a row that a new rent high has been set. There was only a slight slowdown in inflation since the final quarter 2016, the highest on record. The introduction of RPZ’s unfortunately did not go far enough given the depth of the crisis, we need measures which impact all tenancies and limit rent increases within all tenancies. Full rent certainty and security of tenure are the building blocks for a stable rental sector and we renew our call for their urgent introduction.’
‘Loopholes in existing legislation must be closed, restricting landlords with more than three properties from invoking Section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act to issue notice of termination to tenants. In addition, to address the issue of unreasonable deposits being requested at the commencement of tenancies, we must legislate for a statutory maximum of one month’s deposit to be paid at the commencement of a new tenancy. The number of people in emergency accommodation has continued to increase month after month; it is now at nearly 8,000. Many of these are coming from the private rental sector where they have been unable to keep pace with rising rents. The focus must be on preventing people from losing the homes they already have, making sure people and families do not remain trapped in emergency accommodation long term. The Government must address spiralling rents and the absence of sufficient security of tenure further.’
‘People renting their homes must have the security of tenure and know that their rents align with real market rates. Rent increases should be index linked, for example to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Longer leases will slow the process of rent increases. The Daft report also states that there were just 2,930 properties available to rent in August 2017. More affordable private rental supply is badly needed to prevent more people from becoming homeless and ensure that people can leave homelessness behind. The cost rental model must be rolled out as a matter of urgency and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) must be fully resourced and supported to engage with the model to provide as many affordable housing units as quickly possible.’
‘A snapshot study, Locked Out of the Market, undertaken by the Simon Communities, published last week, showed that 91% of properties available above rent supplement and HAP limits. Rent Supplement/HAP limits must keep pace with the market rents if people are to compete in the open market and remain in their homes. These levels must be monitored and adjusted twice a year to ensure they align with private market rents. While discretionary uplifts to Rent Supplement/HAP limits are available, tenants are not always aware of this possibility and implementation can vary by region.’
The Simon Communities deliver supports and services to over 8,300 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness every year.
For media queries and interview requests
Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
Homelessness - the numbers
- During one week in June 2017 (latest available figures), there were 7,941 men, women and children in emergency accommodation across the country. This included 3,206 adults with no dependents in their care and 1,365 families with 2,895 children. (DHPCLG, June 2017).
· During one night in April 2017, there were 195 people without a place to sleep in Dublin City. This included 138 people sleeping rough and 57 people sheltering at the Night Café (DRHE 2017) A 35% increase on June 2016.Unfortunately, Dublin is the only area where an official rough sleeper count takes place, making it difficult to get a countrywide rough sleeping picture.
· Rents have increased nationally by 52% while the number of properties available to rent has reduced by 82% since 2012.
· Locked Out of the Market VII: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’ conducted over three consecutive days – 1st, 2nd and 3rd of March 2017 found 88% of  properties available to rent are beyond the reach of people dependent on state housing benefits (Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payments (HAP)).
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 8,300 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.