Just 3.7% of rental housing stock within standard RS or HAP limits

A new study of the rental market paints a bleak picture for those relying on state-backed rent supplements.

Just 3.7% of rental housing stock within standard RS or HAP limits

A new study of the rental market paints a bleak picture for those relying on state-backed rent supplements.

The latest 'Locked Out of the Market' study by the Simon Communities shows that just 3.7% of rental housing stock across the country is within standard Rent Supplement (RS) or Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits.

Just 55 out of 1,491 properties surveyed in 16 areas over a three-day period from July 30 to August 1 were affordable for those in receipt of standard Government-assisted housing payments.

This is the broadest such study conducted by the Simon Communities to date, with five new areas, including the suburbs of Cork city and Limerick city, included for the first time to give a broader picture of the issues in the rental market.

The study also examined the availability of properties within discretionary RS/HAP limits for the first time. This rate is calculated as up to an additional 50% of the standard available rate in Dublin, and up to an additional 20% of the standard rate elsewhere.

National rents have risen to an average of €1,391 per month and the number of available properties is at an all-time low. In the 16 areas studied by the Simon Communities, just 1,491 properties were available to rent.

Among the main findings of the report are:

  • Just 3.7% (55) of all properties available to rent during the study were within standard RS/HAP limits.
  • Some 469 (31.5%) were found to be within discretionary limits.
  • Combining standard and discretionary limits, there were 524 properties to rent, 81% of which were in Dublin City.
  • Five of the areas surveyed only had properties available within the discretionary limits and none in the standard limits.
  • Not one property was available within standard limits in eight areas; Galway City Centre, Galway City Suburbs, Dublin City Centre, Limerick City Centre, Limerick City Suburbs, Waterford City Centre, Portlaoise and Sligo town.
  • There were just four properties available to rent within standard RS/HAP limits across all study areas for a couple or single person nationwide, all of which were located in Dublin City.

The figures "clearly indicate" that increases to the RS and HAP limits introduced in July 2016 continue to fall short of market rents, according to the Simon Communities.

National Head of Policy and Communications at the Simon Communities, Wayne Stanley said: "We are now at a point where it is becoming startlingly obvious that the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is not driving the level of change in our housing system that is required.

"The structural foundation of housing provision in Ireland is not fit for purpose."

Mr Stanley said that the shortage of property is "driving more people into homelessness".

He said immediate action is needed to increase supplements to ensure they are in line with market rents.

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