2nd July: Availability of affordable private rented accommodation for people depending on Rent Supplement (RS)/Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is critically low in many parts of the country, according to a new snapshot study from the Simon Communities of Ireland.
The latest Simon Communities’ ‘Locked Out of the Market’ study found that 92% (482 properties) of all properties available to rent during the three-day study period were above RS/HAP limits. Accommodation for single individuals was particularly scarce nationwide, with just one suitable property available. Galway City Centre, Waterford City Centre, Athlone and Sligo town had no rented properties available for any household category on dates surveyed, while just one property was available in all household categories in North Kildare, Limerick City Centre and Portlaoise. Three suitable properties were found in Dublin City Centre, and five in Cork City Centre. Given the low levels of supply found in the survey, the Simon Communities welcomed today’s announcement by the Residential Tenancies Board of 19 new Rent Pressure Zones nationwide, along with new powers of investigation and sanctioning for the RTB.
The ‘Locked Out’ series reviews the number of properties advertised to rent in 11 areas on Daft.ie within the Department of Social Protection Rent Supplement (RS) limits and Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits. This is the 14th edition in the series.
The analysis was conducted over three consecutive days – 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April 2019 – and found that just 8% (43) of rental properties on the site were suitable for renting by HAP recipients. Other key findings show that:
• 92% (482 properties) of all properties available to rent during the three-day snapshot study period were above RS/HAP limits. This figure was 92% in November, and 93% in February 2018.
• There was just one property available to rent within RS/HAP limits across all study areas for a single person on the dates surveyed, a decrease of four properties since November 2018.
· The number of properties available to rent within RS/HAP limits across all study areas for a couple or single person decreased from ten in November 2018 to just three in April 2019 – a fall of 70%.
National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, Wayne Stanley, said that the results illustrate how the lack of affordable accommodation in the private rental market is prolonging the current housing crisis.
“This Simon Communities study clearly shows the challenges faced by Rent Supplement or HAP recipients to find a home on the rental market during this crisis. It is alarming that in some of the country’s most-populated urban centres, there is absolutely nowhere for people looking to rent on HAP to live, particularly for singles. Single people and families looking for one and two bedroom homes are facing a huge challenge in many parts of the country. Availability of tenure type needs to be addressed urgently.
“Given the critically low levels of supply found in this study, we particularly welcome today’s announcement by the RTB that Rent Pressure Zones will be extended to 19 new areas nationally. However, in order to make an impact to those living with housing insecurity, these measures will require proper monitoring and strict enforcement.
“We now have 10,253 people in emergency accommodation, 4,092 of whom are single or couples. These numbers have risen drastically since the start of this series of reports in May 2015. It’s clear that the total lack of an accessible private rental sector and limited social housing has driven this increase. The building rate of social housing isn’t anywhere near what is required to address the number of people in emergency accommodation or on housing waiting lists. For a sustainable long-term solution, Government commitment and investment in social and affordable housing is urgently needed across all tenure types nationwide.”
The full report: ‘Locked Out of the Market XIV: The Gap between Rent Supplement/HAP Limits and Market Rents’ can be found online here.
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About Simon Communities
The Simon Communities support over 13,000 men, women and children. We have 50 years of experience providing homeless, housing and treatment services to people facing the trauma and stress of homelessness. We are a network of independent Communities based in Cork, Dublin, Dundalk, Galway, the Midlands, the Mid West, the North West and the South East, responding to local needs and supported by a National Office in the areas of policy, research, communications and best practice. We share common values and ethos in tackling homelessness and, informed by our grassroots services, we campaign for more effective policies and legislation regionally, nationally and at European level. Whatever the issue, Simon’s door is always open for as long as we are needed. For more information, please visit www.simon.ie.