Calls for deposit protection scheme to ease rental market pressures

Calls for deposit protection scheme to ease rental market pressures

Housing charities have called for direct government intervention to ease the pressures on the rental market.

Charities have called for the development of a deposit protection scheme to safeguard tenants' deposits, and a significant investment in the provision of affordable housing. They say that the recent rent report from Daft.ie highlights the significant issues in the private rental sector.

Threshold and the Simon Communities in Ireland are just some of those speaking out in response to the report, which reveals that rents have reached record heights. The average monthly rent is now €1,391, while the report also noted that on May 1, there were just 2,700 homes listed to rent nationwide - the lowest figure recorded since Daft.ie started compiling the data.

A Threshold spokeswoman said the figures show that the introduction of rent pressure zones appears to have worked in Dublin and the commuter belt, where rent inflation is easing. They said concern is growing for the rest of the country, though.

“We remain concerned about tenants in other major cities such as Cork, Limerick and Waterford, where tenants experienced increases of 7.9%, 10.5% and 10% respectively,” the spokeswoman said.

“Rental increases also appear to be more pronounced outside of the city boundaries in Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford where increases ranged from 12% to 16%."

The rising cost of bed spaces is an issue too, they added, noting that the cost of renting a single room in Cork city has increased by 7.1% in the last 12 months, with Waterford, Galway and other areas experiencing even sharper increases.

Aideen Hayden, chairwoman of Threshold, has called on the Government to immediately implement a deposit protection scheme to protect tenants from scams. It was promised in 2011 but has yet to be introduced, while the Simon Communities of Ireland say the data shows a critical lack of affordable housing in the private sector all over Ireland. They have called on the Government to increase the supply of affordable accommodation as a matter of urgency to prevent the number of homeless people from increasing further.

Meanwhile, the CEO of the Property Services Regulatory Authority, Maeve Hogan, is warning students and their families to be wary of rental scams. Ms Hogan said bogus agents are targeting large numbers of students seeking accommodation with fraudulent property listings in an attempt to extract large deposits.

The warning followed comments made by Pierre Yimbog, president of the students' union of the Technological University of Dublin in yesterday's Daft.ie report. Mr Yimbog said the shortage of properties in Irish cities means that many students are struggling to find somewhere to live when attending college:

"There are currently 75,500 students living in Dublin. According to property company, CBRE, it is estimated that the number of bed-spaces provided in Purpose Built student and University accommodation amounts to under 14,000. At present, there are thousands of students on university campus accommodation waiting lists."

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