Responding to the RTB’s latest Rent Index, the Simon Communities renew calls for enhanced security of tenure in private rental sector
The latest RTB Rent Index shows that rents rose by 6.9% nationwide in the final quarter of 2018 when compared with a year earlier. Annually, rents grew by 5.5% outside the Greater Dublin Area (Kildare, Wicklow, Meath). The annualised rate was 5.3% inside the Greater Dublin Area, and 7.8% in Dublin. The Simon Communities said that while it is encouraging that the standardised average rent declined slightly relative to the previous quarter, rental costs in the private sector still remain far too high nationwide.
The Simon Communities noted the extension of Rental Pressure Zones to Navan and Limerick East, but said that the continuing inaccessibility of the rental sector is both pushing people into homelessness and preventing people from leaving homelessness behind. The homelessness and housing organisation added that the implementation of many of the proposals included in the new amended Residential Tenancies Bill 2018, currently under consideration in the Dáil, must now be prioritised; they could help improve rent certainty and enhance security of tenure for people depending on the private rented sector for their housing.
Paul Sheehan, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities, said that the latest Rent Index shows why high rents remain a huge concern for renters.
“This latest rent index shows that the private rental sector remains beyond the reach of far too many people. It’s important to note that these figures don’t take into account top-ups and other informal arrangements that people make to remain in the homes they have. This can have a serious impact on people’s standard of living. People forego food, heat and light and much else to keep a roof over their own heads and that of their families.
“Many people have nowhere to go if they cannot afford to rent, and this is one of the key reasons why almost 10,000 people were forced to start 2019 in emergency accommodation. All options need to be considered in addressing this crisis, and for that reason the Simon Communities of Ireland urge the implementation as a priority of many of the proposals included in the new amended Residential Tenancies Bill 2018, currently under consideration in the Dáil. The proposed amendments need to be expedited through the Oireachtas in order for them to be implemented. In particular, the proposals to address many of the loopholes in the existing bill around tenants’ security of tenure could potentially make a huge difference to those who are affected by the lack of affordable housing in the private rental market and help take pressure off over-burdened emergency accommodation around the country. Full rent certainty and security of tenure are the building blocks for a stable rental sector.
“Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) provided for in existing legislation need to be properly monitored and continuously enforced by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). More broadly, it is clear that the private sector is struggling to deliver the level of affordable housing needed in this country in the long term. The Simon Communities of Ireland believe it is vital that the State, in conjunction with Local Authorities and Approved Housing Bodies, build and invest in social and affordable housing across all tenure types nationwide at the scale required.”
The Simon Communities deliver supports and services each year to over 13,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness.
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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.
- Homelessness prevention, tenancy sustainment and resettlement.
- Street outreach, emergency accommodation and harm reduction.
- Housing with support and Housing First services.
- Homeless specific health and wellbeing services (counselling; addiction treatment and recovery; and mental health supports).
- Personal development, education, training and employment services.
- Food banks, drop-in centres and soup runs.