Charity urges state intervention amid soaring rents
A housing charity in the Republic has called for state intervention to bring relief to tenants after record levels of rent increases were reported in recent months.
Rents increased by the fastest rate on record in the second quarter of this year, according to the latest report from property website Daft.ie.
The average market rent nationwide between April and June was €1,618 per month, up 3.3% on the first three months of the year, the report states.
Market rents in the second quarter of this year were an average of 12.6% higher than the same period a year earlier, the highest annual rate of inflation recorded by Daft.ie.
John-Mark McCafferty, chief executive of housing charity Threshold, said the report “paints a dire picture” for private renters in Ireland.
The charity called for state intervention for private renters, saying the report comes after the Residential Tenancies Board rent index revealed a 9.2% increase in rent prices in the first quarter of this year.
Earlier this week, it was confirmed that almost 3,000 private renters have received notices to quit in the first half of this year, while the number of adults and children experiencing homelessness has exceeded 10,000.
Mr McCafferty said: “Threshold notes a total disregard of the rules by certain landlords, and that private renters should not be expected to pay unlawful rent increases.”
He also said the increases have been “particularly severe” in areas not protected by the Rent Pressure Zone rules.
“In Donegal, Leitrim and Longford for example, increases range from €140 to €165 a month,” he added.
“This is the cost of a child’s uniform or their school books for a new school year and is resulting in increased financial strain on families already struggling to pay the bills.
“Those looking to rent a room have experienced unjustifiable increases in rents, with prices up an average of 15% year-on-year in every large town and city in the country.
“Those renting a single room will pay approximately an extra €100 per month compared to last year, at a time when inflation is almost 10%.”
Threshold said private rental costs will have a particularly adverse impact on students returning to college, or those starting college for the first time this year.
“Even the cheapest room on offer exceeds the SUSI grant and what a student can make while working part-time,” the charity said.
“For this reason, students are warned to be aware of scams and fraudulent adverts.
“Students should check the authenticity of providers, visit the accommodation and check that keys work in the doors before committing financially to accommodation prior to the start of this college year.”
Students are advised not to transfer funds in person, by bank transfer or through a company to someone claiming to be an agent or landlord of a prospective property without verifying they are genuine.
Mr McCafferty added: “Threshold hopes to see enhanced supports for renters in the forthcoming Budget, as well as tax changes for landlords which are linked to improved security of tenure for tenants and their families.”