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Decrease in rental properties available

  • 11/12/2017
  • Author:bridgetmccall

91.5% of rental properties beyond reach of housing benefits claimants - Simon Communities of Ireland

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91.5% of [538] 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.

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."

Source: Simon Communities of Ireland press release: 91.5% of rental properties beyond reach of Rent Supplement/HAP payments

Do you need help?

You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find out if you might be eligible for help from a charitable fund, based on your background, circumstances and needs.

The following organisations may be able to give you further advice:

Money Advice and Budgeting Service which can advise on debt, including housing, and has information sheets on its website.

Homelessness charities Simon Communities of Ireland and Focus Ireland

You may also find it helpful to look at the Citizens Ireland information on housing


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