Rocketing Rents witnessed by Focus Ireland staff in Waterford, Cork and Limerick borne out by increases of up to 15% outside of Dublin as crisis deepens

Focus Ireland has called for more urgent Government action to tackle rocketing rents as the new Daft report shows rents have shot up to a new all-time record of €1,227 per month, the seventh quarter in a row a new all-time high has been set.

The charity warned that the range of Government measures designed to address the rental crisis has had very limited impact so far.

Focus Ireland Advocacy Director Mike Allen said: “The DAFT report clearly show that actions the Government has taken – such as Rent Pressure Zones – have not been implemented effectively.  Rents nationwide have now reached an all-time record of an average of €1,227. While the Rent Pressure Zones have helped curtail rent increases for some sitting tenants there are so many loopholes in the legislation it is still far too easy for landlords to ignore.”

Mr Allen said: “The findings of this latest report mirror the experience of Focus Ireland staff in Dublin, and beyond. The fact that Dublin rents are now 26% or almost €380 a month higher than their previous peak in 2008 is deeply troubling. This is mirrored in other cities, towns and counties where Focus Ireland works.”

Most of the other major cities saw similar changes in rents during 2017 to those experienced in Dublin. In Galway and Waterford, rents rose by a little over 12% during the year, while in Limerick, rents rose by 14.8%. In Cork, the increase in rents was 7.7%, while outside the five main cities, rents rose by 9.8%.

Mr Allen said: “We have a truly dysfunctional housing system and while we recognise that Government has taken a number of measures, the evidence is clear that these still fall far short of what is needed. These massive rent increases are like a fever that needs to be controlled if we are not to see thousands of families, including those on decent wages, forced out of their homes. Rent Pressure Zones are failing not because they are a bad idea, but because of the failure of effective implementation.”

He explained: “There is no monitoring to check if landlords are abiding by the 4% rent increase cap when one tenant leaves and a new tenant signs a new lease. It seems these rules are being widely ignored. There is nothing to stop landlords claiming that they will sell up and evict their tenants in order to push rents up.”

Focus Ireland has called for effective monitoring and penalties to be put in place for any landlords that are caught breaking the rent cap in a rent pressure zone. The majority of landlords are decent and want to abide by the laws, but must be very frustrating for them to see other landlords break the rules with impunity.

The DAFT report also found a continuing drop in the number of properties available, the lowest number ever recorded for this time of year since the series started in 2006, and the figure marks a 15% decrease on the same date a year previously.

There were 3,143 properties available to rent nationwide on February 1st. In Dublin, there were fewer than 1,350 homes available to rent, compared to almost 6,700 on the same date in 2009.

Mr Allen added: “Last year Focus Ireland supported over 600 households to move out of homelessness, a large number of them moved into private rented housing, with the support of HAP.

“We are deeply concerned that because the limited amount of new rental available there will be fewer opportunities to move out of homelessness and people will be stuck in emergency accommodation for longer. Although the Minister committed to reviewing Rebuilding Ireland, and made a number of statements in relation to it, we have not seen sight of it yet.

“Of the 11 Actions in ‘Strategy for the Rental Sector’ designed to boost supply virtually none has been implemented (Actions 9 – 19). We have seen no real action on tax, on provision of sites, or cost rental models.

“These ongoing increases in rent are more than just a statistic; rather consequences of government inactivity which contributed to a 17% increase in family homelessness in 2017 and we are becoming accustomed to reporting of high profile forced evictions, as we saw last month in Dublin.”

Focus Ireland also said that is not helpful that the full review of Rebuilding Ireland – which was meant to be concluded in September – is not to be published. There have been a wide range of announcements and plan, but there is now no single document which sets out what is to be delivered and when it will be delivered.

To arrange a pre-recorded interviews in advance of the embargo until just after midnight tonight, please contact Contact Roughan Mac Namara at 086 85 15 117 or Alan Neary at 086 4680 442.

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