'Sky-rocketing' rents could force some people into homelessness

An 'uplift' campaign from IMPACT is urging TDs to support the ‘Secure Rents Bill’

An ‘uplift’ campaign is urged TDs to support the ‘Secure Rents Bill’ that comes before the Dáil tomorrow.

The Bill aims to amend the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 in order to provide for greater rent certainty and security of tenure for tenants in the private rented sector.

Earlier this month, rental property site Daft.ie showed rents rose nationwide by an average of 11.7% in the year to September. In addition, at €1,077 in the third quarter of the year, the average monthly rent nationwide is at an all-time high.

IMPACT's lead organiser Joe O'Connor said on Newstalk Breakfast that the levels of rent increases are unsustainable for many.

"There's a real concern among renters out there that if rents continue to sky-rocket as they have been doing that it's going to force some people in to homelessness," he said. "There's a lot of worry out there."

Mr O'Connor said rent uncertainty is a nationwide problem, having held a public meeting in Cork this week. The latest Daft.ie figures for Laois show that rents in the county are on average 13.6% higher in the third quarter of 2016 than a year previously. The average advertised rent is now €723, up 43% from their lowest point in 2012.

He added that he does not think the two year rent freeze - which included increasing the rent review period from one to two years, increased notice periods for rent reviews and much greater protections for tenants - has worked. 

"While it's managed to place a temporary freeze on rent, what we're now seeing at the other end is that some of these rent certainty measures for a certain group of tenants are due to expire on December 3rd. We've had numerous reports of tenants receiving letters from their landlords where they're looking at rent hikes of up to 30 - 40%.

The Bill, if passed, will bring rent stability by linking rents to the Consumer Price Index, revoke the automatic right of landlords to evict tenants for the purpose of sale and indefinite lease terms, into legislative effect.

"We believe these are reasonable asks, and that action needs to be taken as an absolute matter of urgency," he said.