Eight out of ten homes unaffordable for those on Rent Supplement

Simon Community report finds private rental supply has more than halved since May of last year

A ‘snapshot’ study undertaken by the Simon Community has found that 80% of properties currently available for rent are “out of reach” for people depending upon state housing benefits.

The survey – undertaken over three consecutive days in 10 locations around the country – highlights the extent of the shrinking private rented market and the gap between rising rents and Rent Supplement / HAP limits.

The second quarter of 2016 has seen rents rising nationally by an average of 3.9% according to Daft.ie and Lorcan Sirr, housing professor at DIT, says today’s Simon report highlights more problems for everyone.

Niamh Randall, National Spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland said the 55% reduction in the availability of rental properties is “of huge concern.”

“There are over 6,500 people in emergency accommodation tonight. People’s lives are on hold because they are trapped in emergency accommodation because there is nowhere for them to move on to,” she said.

“Without shelter, safety and security it is almost impossible to function; to get involved in your community and society, go about family life, go to work, to school or to training.”

This the fifth time The Simon Community has undertaken the survey and the first since the increase in Rent Supplement/HAP limits in July 2016.

Ms. Randall said the new limits have made a difference, however the massive decrease in rental supply is "deeply concerning."

“HAP limits must be monitored and adjusted on a bi-annual basis to ensure they are aligned with private market rents,” she said.

She said there is an “urgent need” to bring rents into line with real market rates, for full rent certainty and enhanced security of tenure.

She went to say that the two year rent freeze introduced by Alan Kelly last November in an effort to stabilise the market has “not had the desired effect.”

The Simon Community are continuing to call for rents to be linked to the consumer price index.