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Rent Hikes – Increased supply is the only solution

The Daft.ie Rental Report released today showed that private rents continue to rise in Ireland, with average rent nationally now standing at €1,227 and reaching a high of €1,995 in South County Dublin.  There were 85,799 households (235,947 people) on the social housing waiting list in June 2017, a decrease of 6% from September 2016, however over half of that decrease is attributable to transfers from Rent Supplement to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), and a further 802 households transferred from Rent Supplement to the RAS Scheme – meaning two thirds of families now deemed to have had their social housing needs met may have had no actual change in circumstances whatsoever. 

Even with supports such as Rent Supplement and HAP, the current market rents are outside the reach of those in receipt of social welfare payments and substantially out of reach of those on the average wage.  A family in receipt of the maximum HAP rate in Dublin of €1,300 will need to pay a ‘top up’ of between €320 and €695 per month at current Dublin rent prices.

The Government continues to look to the private rented market for social housing responses, with over three quarters of the 25,469 ‘housing solutions’ promised in Budget 2018 coming from existing supply.  With this market becoming more precarious, what are the alternatives available for those no longer able to afford to stay in their current homes, or whose tenure is uncertain?  What about those remaining 85,799 households?  The Government needs to stop relying on private rented accommodation as a response to a public housing need.  Building more homes and communities is the only solution.  Social Justice Ireland urges Government to move away from temporary solutions and actually build affordable, adequate social housing funded through off-balance sheet and cost-rental mechanisms.