Homeless and housing organisation respond to the RTB Index calling for full rent certainty and enhanced security of tenure
The Simon Communities in Ireland have said that figures released today from the RTB Rent Index Q4 2017 shows that, despite a slow-down of growth, rents have still increased to a point where they are now 7% above previous peak levels. The housing and homelessness organisation said the rental market remains under huge pressure and cannot cope with demand. Full rent certainty and enhancing security of tenure would make a significant positive impact on the many thousands of people struggling to find a home and to those who are trying to hold on to the homes they already have.
The latest Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) rent index shows that, nationally, rents rose by 6.4% over the year to quarter 4. Outside Dublin, rents continued to grow on an annual basis at 7.1%. Annually, Dublin rents continued to grow by 5.9% with rents for Dublin apartments now 14% above the previous peak of Q4 2007. Strong annual growth was also recorded in Laois, Roscommon, Wexford and Waterford. The fastest rate of rental growth on an annualised basis was recorded in Sligo at 29% per annum.
Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities said the soaring rents and plummeting supply must be constantly monitored and addressed.
‘It really is nearly impossible for people to find somewhere to rent. Increasingly, these issues are preventing people from finding and sustaining affordable homes in the rental market. This report clearly shows sharp increases in rent in commuter belt areas; Meath, Wicklow and Kildare have seen increases of up to 7.5%. People are under huge pressure to afford these payments, to keep a roof over their heads. Right now there are over 9,000 men, women and children trying to live their lives while stuck in emergency accommodation. The supply is simply not there for people to move on from emergency accommodation and homeless services. Over 9,000 people are stuck; there is nowhere for them to go. Many of them come from the private rental sector where they were unable to afford to stay in the homes that they already had. Now they are trapped as the market is so expensive and social housing is not being delivered at the scale required.’
‘Rent certainty and security of tenure are the building blocks for a stable rental sector and we renew our call for their urgent introduction. Keeping people in the homes they have is critical, therefore loopholes in existing legislation must be closed urgently; for example, restricting landlords with more than three properties from invoking Section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act to issue notice of termination to tenants. Low-income families and those in receipt of state housing benefits, if they are lucky enough to find a rental home, are being hit by requests for unreasonable deposits and key money at the commencement of tenancies. The State must legislate for a statutory maximum of one month’s deposit paid at the commencement of a new tenancy. Bearing in mind ongoing revelations about overcrowding and quality in the private rented sector it is essential that an NCT type inspection system is implemented as soon as possible with the necessary enforcement mechanisms and severe penalties.’
‘A snapshot study, Locked Out of the Market, undertaken by the Simon Communities and published in February 2018, showed that only 7% of properties available to rent are available within Rent Supplement (RS) /Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) levels. This is extremely problematic as the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland plan is heavily reliant on the private rental sector to deliver social housing through HAP. Rent Supplement and HAP must increase to allow households in receipt of these payments to compete fairly in the Private Rented Sector. In Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs), these payments must increase by at least 4% as the majority of rents in these areas will increase by at least 4% per annum. Critically, the State must build social and affordable homes at the scale required; that is the key to resolving this crisis.’
The Simon Communities deliver support and service to over 11,000 people and families who experience or are at risk of homelessness on an annual basis.
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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.