Fresh calls for ban on evicting renters as numbers double in 12 months

Fresh calls for ban on evicting renters as numbers double in 12 months

Protestors at the National Homeless and Housing Coalition (NHHC) housing crisis rally at the Grand Parade in Cork. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

A fresh ban on evictions has been called for as the number of renters being forced from their homes by their landlords has more than doubled in the last 12 months, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

New figures from the Rental Tenancies Board (RTB) show that between April and June, 1,781 renters were given notice to quit, compared to 841 during the same period last year when the temporary eviction ban, introduced under Covid-19, was lifted.

The figures reveal a quarter-on-quarter growth in the eviction numbers since then. 

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien is now under mounting pressure to immediately intervene as many of these renters are likely to end up seeking emergency homeless accommodation.

Quit notices rising

Between July and September last year, the number of quit notices went to 887, then to 958 between October and December.

The numbers for the first three months of this year increased again to 1,132 and then spiked significantly to 1,781 in the second quarter.

That means in the past year, a total of 5,599 notices to quit were issued to renters by their landlords.

From July 6 last, new notice periods were issued to landlords seeking to end a tenancy. The new notice periods only apply to tenancies that are less than three years old. The minimum requirement is 90 days for a tenancy that is less than six months in duration, but if the tenancy is more than eight years old, the landlord is required to give 224 days’ notice.

The RTB figures were made available to Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin, who in turn supplied them to the Irish Examiner.

 'All options must be on the table,' says Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos
'All options must be on the table,' says Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/ Collins Photos

Commenting on the sharp rise in quit notices, Mr Ó Broin said the minister must consider all options, including a fresh ban on evictions, to deal with the problem.

“All options must be on the table for consideration, including a temporary ban on evictions, an accelerated tenant-in-situ purchase scheme by local authorities, an acceleration of social housing delivery, and tax reform in the private rental sector,” he said.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said the housing minister needs to convene an urgent meeting to address this clear crisis in the rental sector.

“This meeting must happen immediately and include the Residential Tenancies Board, tenants' and landlords' representative organisations, and opposition housing spokespersons,” he said.

"We urgently need a crisis-intervention plan to slow down the disorderly exit of private landlords exiting the rental market."

He said on the basis of the figures released to him on Friday, the number of single people and families being evicted will increase every month for the remainder of this year and into 2023. 

“This will lead to a level of homelessness that we previously would have thought impossible," he said.

"I have written to the Minister for Housing urging him to act before it is too late.”

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien says he has established the national homeless action committee. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien says he has established the national homeless action committee. Picture: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Mr O’Brien has said the key to solving the housing crisis is the delivery of new social housing and boosting overall supply.

“This year, funding is in place to deliver 11,800 new social homes, including 9,000 new builds,” he said.

"That is the highest number in any given year in the history of the State and is thus building on the progress we made last year when, even with Covid, we delivered 9,183 new social homes — a 17% increase on 2020."

He said he has established the national homeless action committee, a standing committee within Government made up of NGOs and representatives from other relevant departments, reflecting a whole-of-government approach.

Its initial key priorities are the advancement of additional measures to prevent homelessness and work on the youth homelessness strategy.

There will be a voids programme for 2022 with an emphasis on quick turnaround and reletting of vacant social housing stock, he added.

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