A severe shortage of supply in the private rented sector in Galway is resulting in dramatic increases in rents and is putting some tenants at risk of homelessness. That’s according to Threshold, the national housing charity.
The charity’s Galway office noted that, at the end of October, a mere 80 properties were advertised as available for rent on the property website www.daft.ie for the entire city and suburbs.
The average cost of a one-bed apartment in Galway was €674, a two-bed was €1,076 and a three-bed was €1,190. The Daft.ie Rental Report for Quarter 3 2015, issued this week, shows that rents in Galway rose by 12.2 per cent in the same period a year earlier.
Diarmaid O’Sullivan, Services Manager for Threshold in Galway, said the situation in the private rented sector is reaching crisis point. “Supply has all but dried up and this is driving rent inflation. This is a national trend, which is reflected locally in Galway.
“Threshold regularly deals with tenants who are faced with 15 per cent, 20 per cent or even 30 per cent increases in their rent.
e_SDLqMany tenants simply cannot afford such increases and are left with little option but to move out and seek alternative accommodation. But with such a shortage of supply, this may not be possible and they can quickly fall into homelessness.”
The effects are being seen all across the city with Martin O’Connor of COPE Galway telling the Galway Independent, “At any given time, on any given night we have up to 18 families in emergency accommodation in the city that we’re working with and supporting and for the vast majority of those, their efforts to find private rent are very difficult.
“They’re increasingly futile in fact and it’s because of the rent levels that are now being asked.”
Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly TD last week introduced a range of measures to address some of the problems in the private rented sector.
The measures include limiting rent increases to every two years instead of annual rent reviews, and introducing a tax incentive for landlords to take people on rent supplement payments.
There will also be an extended notice period for rent increases and a requirement, on the part of the landlord, to justify the reasonableness of rent increases.
Diarmaid O’Sullivan said these measures should go some way towards easing the challenges faced by tenants, but they “don’t provide a complete solution to what is a complicated and multi-faceted problem”.
“Tenants in receipt of Rent Supplement are finding it nearly impossible to find properties to rent under the maximum rent levels, as set by the Department of Social Protection.”
Threshold recently established Tenancy Protection Services in Dublin and Cork. These services are targeted at people living in the private rented sector, who are facing problems that may put them at risk of homelessness, such as unaffordable rent increases, notice of termination or a threat of illegal eviction. The services operate a protocol with the Department of Social Protection to secure enhanced rent supplement payments for households facing homelessness.
The organisation hopes to extend the Tenancy Protection Services to Galway and other areas of the country in 2016.
Threshold’s Galway office is based at 3 Victoria Place, Merchant’s Road, Galway, and can be contacted by telephone on 091-563080 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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