91.5% of  properties available to rent are beyond the reach of people dependent on state housing benefits, the Locked Out of the Market IX snapshot study by the Simon Communities in Ireland has found. There were no properties available to rent for a single person limits and only two properties were available to couples within Rent Supplement/Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) over the snapshot study period. Overall, the number of rental properties on the market has dropped significantly; crucially, the number available to people in receipt of state housing payments has decreased to just 8.5% of all properties, indicating an increasing gap between Rent Supplement/HAP limits and market rents.
‘Locked Out of the Market IX: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’ was conducted over three consecutive days – 1st, 2nd and 3rd of November 2017. Locked Out of the Market IX found that there were 538 properties to rent over the November 2017 snapshot period in eleven locations. This is a fall of 53% from 1,150 homes available to rent in May 2015 when the first Locked Out of the Market study was undertaken.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said that state housing benefits must be increased to allow people compete in a very challenging rental market
‘Rent Supplement and HAP limits must be increased to allow households in receipt of these payments to compete in the Private Rented Sector. Increases of at least 4% in Rent Pressure Zones are necessary, as the majority of rents in these areas will increase by the 4% allowed. The benefit of the July 2016 increase in limits has now clearly been eroded. 91.5% of the properties on the market are above these limits. So if someone is coming to the private rental market for the first time, it is unlikely that they will be able to find a home. While discretionary uplifts are available, these are managed on a case-by-case basis, which is not an adequate policy solution. It is extremely stressful for families and individuals and resource-intensive to undertake.’
‘There was not one property available to people who are single which is often the case for people who are long term homeless, and just two were available for couples. 44% of people on the social housing waiting list are single and don’t currently have dependants in their care. In the absence of being able to afford to buy a home the private rental market is their only option. The 3,286 single people stuck in emergency accommodation have little or no hope of securing a rental accommodation home this Christmas. Some landlords are now asking for three months’ rent in advance. People on housing benefit or low incomes or those leaving homelessness cannot provide that. Often they will not be able to provide an employer reference or a previous landlord reference. 8,500 people remain trapped in emergency accommodation; many of them coming from the private rental sector where they were unable to afford to stay in the homes that they already had. We must focus on preventing people from losing the homes that they have. Full rent certainty and security of tenure are the building blocks for a stable rental sector and we call yet again for their urgent introduction. Those trapped in emergency accommodation need affordable homes with support where needed (housing first). Critically we need the State to build social and affordable homes at the scale required.’
The full report: ‘Locked Out of the Market IX: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’ can be found here and contains recommendations from the Simon Communities.
The Simon Communities deliver supports and services to over 8,300 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness every year.
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Tel: 01 671 1606/ 085 806 5141
Homelessness - the numbers
- During one week in October 2017 (latest available figures), there were 8,492 men, women and children in emergency accommodation across the country. This included 3,286 adults with no dependents in their care and 1,463 families with 3,194 children. (DHPCLG, June 2017).
· 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 IX: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’ conducted over three consecutive days – 1st, 2nd and 3rd of November 2017 found 91.5% 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 people 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.