Emergency measures must be brought in to help tenants facing homelessness

June 15, 2017

The new Minister for Housing must extend emergency rent assistance measures nationwide to prevent homelessness caused by rising rents, the Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy TD said today.

Deputy Murphy made her comments as the latest figures show that private sector rents grew by 7.37 per cent across the country in the past year. The data from the Residential Tenancies Board also shows that outside Dublin rents for houses and apartments grew by 7.6 per cent in the same period. Rents are above average in parts of counties Dublin, Cork, Galway, Wicklow, Meath and Kildare.

Deputy Murphy said:

These latest figures are proof, once again, that our private rental market is totally broken. The new Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy TD needs to hit the ground running with actions to solve the crisis facing struggling renters. Rents are increasing above the national average in commuter counties around Dublin and parts of Cork and Galway. People are facing homelessness because they simply cannot afford to pay the ridiculous amounts that are being asked.

“People who rely on rent benefits like Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) are being locked out of the rental market altogether. In Dublin in particular, HAP rates are not keeping pace with market rents – this means that vulnerable tenants are facing homelessness.

“The situation is also critical for people in the private rental sector outside Dublin who rely on rent supports. Despite the fact that rents are rising faster in urban areas outside of Dublin, many of these areas have not been designated as Rent Pressure Zones. What’s more, these renters are not eligible for the enhanced supports available under the so-called “Homeless HAP” which has been operating in the four Dublin local authorities for the past few years.

Deputy Murphy added: “The incoming Minister must get to work urgently and extend the Homeless HAP payments for renters outside Dublin. He should also extend rent certainty measures nationwide by linking rent increases to the Consumer Price Index. This must be part of range of measures to fix the broken rental system by increasing supply, making rents more affordable, protecting deposits, preventing evictions, and giving renters the security that they so badly need.”

ENDS

15 June 2017