17th October 2022
September’s Locked Out of the Market Report Finds Just 35 HAP Properties Available Across 16 Areas – Lowest Ever
The Simon Communities of Ireland’s quarterly Locked Out of the Market report from September 2022 shows just 35 HAP properties were available to rent by people reliant on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme. This is the lowest number of HAP properties ever recorded in the Locked Out of the Market reports. All of these fell within the discretionary limits only. For the first time, Locked Out found no properties available to rent within a standard HAP rate.
Across all of the areas surveyed, there were only 392 unique properties available to rent at any price within the 16 study areas, over the three dates surveyed. This is also the lowest number of properties ever recorded in a Locked Out of the Market report. This represented a decrease of 40% from the 657 properties available to rent in the June 2022 and a 61.5% drop from the 1,017 properties available 12 months ago in September 2021.
The 35 properties available under a discretionary limit in at least one of the four categories is two less than the 37 HAP properties available in the June 2022 study and 81.7% less than the 192 available 12 months prior in September 2021.
As seen in many recent Locked Out of the Market reports, the 35 properties within HAP limits were predominantly available in Dublin; 23 (65.7%) were found in the three Dublin areas examined (Dublin City Centre, Dublin City North and Dublin City South). In Dublin, the discretionary rate allows up to an additional 50% on the standard rate; this is 35% elsewhere in the country.
Outside of Dublin, nine of the 16 study areas had no properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits. These were Athlone, Galway City Centre, Galway City Suburbs, Co. Leitrim, Limerick City Suburbs, Limerick City Centre, Sligo Town, Portlaoise, and Waterford.
The report found 11 properties affordable under the discretionary HAP rates for both single people and couples. Only 2 one-bed properties within discretionary HAP rates were available outside of Dublin; 1 each in Cork City Suburbs and Kildare. 13 properties were available under discretionary limits for households with one child. A further 11 were available for families with two children, under the discretionary HAP rate.
Wayne Stanley, Head of Policy and Communications at the Simon Communities of Ireland, said:
“The number of properties shown in this report are the lowest figures we have seen in our Locked Out series and it is the first time that we found no properties available to rent within a standard HAP rate. If you break down the 35 properties available, if local authorities apply the maximum discretions available to them and put it in the context of the housing and homelessness crisis, in reality no properties are available to those trying to access privately rented homes to exit or avoid homelessness.
In this context, the moratorium on evictions being considered by Government at the moment, is an imperative. However, it is not in itself an answer to the crisis. We need action that will increase the stock of affordable homes.
While a moratorium is in place, we would call on the Government to take action on vacancy, bring in the provisions of the Simon Homeless Prevention Bill, ramp up the tenants in situ purchase scheme, and proactively engage with landlords leaving the market, to see what can be done to retain the current private rented stock.
The Simon Communities have been calling for action on the 166,000 vacant homes throughout the country. With increased funding and targeted action, we believe it is possible to bring in substantial numbers of vacant homes through a reformed Repair and Lease scheme over the next 12 months. This could help to reduce our reliance on the private rental system and keep vulnerable households out of homelessness.”