New Central Bank Figures Show the Housing and Homeless Crisis is Continuing to Deepen

Focus Ireland said new figures from the Central Bank which show more than four family homes are being repossessed every day shows the housing and homeless crisis continues to deepen.

Figures for the three months to the end of September report that 421 homeowners either volunteered or were forced to hand over the keys to the properties. Meanwhile, over 280 houses or apartments owned by landlords were repossessed by banks or financial institutions.

Focus Ireland said that the new figures also clearly report the growing crisis facing tenants in buy-to-let properties and called for the Government to take urgent action now to help these vulnerable households.

The leading charity said the Government must move to accept proposals to increase the rights of tenants in 132,000 buy-to-let properties when this matter is voted on in the Dail. According to the report for Quarter 3 2016, there are 14,518 buy-to-let mortgages in arrears by more than 720 days, accounting for 11% of all buy-to-let mortgages.

Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “The overall picture emerging is of further deterioration of the situation in the buy-to-let market with thousands of tenants at risk of losing their home, not through any fault of their own but because their landlord is unable to pay their mortgage.”

Focus Ireland has called on the Government to change the law to stop banks and other financial institutions from being able to repossess buy-to-let homes and evict the tenant.  The charity said up to 40 children in 20 families are being forced into homelessness every month by banks & financial institutions through evictions from buy-to-let homes.

Last week in the Dáil it was discussed how to increase the protection for tenants in the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016.  The Bill has now been referred to committee.  The Government’s “Tyrrelstown Amendment’ in relation to this Bill initially proposes to ensure that landlords with 20 or more properties cannot evict their tenants in one go. However, most of the evictions from buy-to-let tenancies are by landlords with 1 or 2 properties.”

Focus Ireland is currently running a campaign calling for action to stop families renting from ‘buy-to-let’ landlords being evicted if the landlord is forced to sell the property. An incredible 40,000 e-mails have now been sent to TDs and Senators in the weeks of the campaign calling for action.

Mr Allen said: “It is vital we always remember that behind every one of these evictions that we are talking about men, women and children who are being forced out of their home – through no fault of their own – and becoming homeless. This is wrong and totally unacceptable. While much good work is being done to prevent people from becoming homeless the growing number of buy-to-let homes being either repossessed or sold is causing a constant rise in the numbers being forced into homelessness.”


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