By Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA
A third of renters are spending 50 per cent or more of their net income on rent, according to a housing charity.
Threshold has published the results of a survey of 500 adult renters about their income, as part of its campaign to highlight the rights that private renters in Ireland have.
It found that 60 per cent had their rent increased in the last year, and almost half (47 per cent) of all renters said a landlord had withheld their security deposit unfairly – up 20 per cent compared with last year.
Seventy-four per cent of renters said that it is common to have problems with mould or damp in their rental homes, which is up 57 per cent on last year; and 27 per cent of renters have experienced an unfair eviction, up from 10 per cent last year.
Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said the Fianna Fáil party is “acutely aware of the pressures that renters are under” as part of Budget 2023 negotiations.
“They’re a very important group of people that I would like to be able to help, but that is obviously based on discussions that we are having and will have over the coming weeks to see what we can do to help.
“I’m also very aware of the high cost of rents that are out there and the proportion that many renters are paying in their net take-home pay.
“So without highlighting exactly, because these are things that need to be agreed, what I would say to you that from my perspective as Housing Minister, from Fianna Fáil’s perspective, that renters are central in my thoughts right now and in our discussions that we’re having with government colleagues.”
Threshold said that rent increases and landlords exiting the market, particularly small landlords who would provide more affordable accommodation, was putting further pressure on financially-squeezed renters.
Adequate housing was recognized as part of the right to an adequate standard of living in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
But, ‘adequate housing’ means more than four walls and a roof.
— Threshold (@ThresholdIRE) September 5, 2022
John-Mark McCafferty, chief executive of Threshold, said that the rental rights campaign was important at a time which is “very critical, very challenging in the private rented sector in terms of rent levels and security of tenure and quality of just availability of housing in the private rented sector”.
Launched by Threshold and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, this is the second year of the Own Your Rights campaign.
The campaign is designed to raise awareness of how Threshold can provide tenants with the immediate and urgent assistance they require at a time of unparalleled need for renters.
Mr McCafferty added: “In the face of all the challenges and all the issues facing private renters and their families, it’s to reassure private renters and say ‘Look, Threshold is here. We’re free, we’re confidential, we’re in your corner’.
“We will assist, we will advise, we will give tailored advice, we will represent if necessary, and we will protect tenancies, and thereby preventing homelessness.”