'Frightening' example of rental crisis: Mum who paid agreed €1,800 deposit told to up her price or lose the home

'Frightening' example of rental crisis: Mum who paid agreed €1,800 deposit told to up her price or lose the home

Threshold’s Edel Conlon. Picture: Denis Minihane

THE MOTHER of a student, who had paid an agreed €1,800 deposit to a landlord, contacted housing charity Threshold after the landlord insisted that she increase the payment to retain her child’s accommodation.

The head of the Threshold’s Cork office, Edel Conlon, cited the “frightening example” today, as the charity outlined the worsening situation facing renters.

A report this week from property website Daft.ie showed that there were just 2,700 homes available to rent nationwide — the lowest number since they began collecting data.

The average rent in the city is now €1,366, and there is intense competition to secure properties that become available.

Ms Conlon said the shortage of properties is set to worsen.

“Over the next six to eight weeks, students are going to start looking for accommodation, what is that figure going to go down to?”

She said this year had the largest number of CAO applications and a reduction of students applying to study in the UK due to Brexit and the uncertainty that surrounds it.

Speaking about the ongoing accommodation crisis, Ms Conlon said that while a number of applications had been made in Cork to construct buy-to-rent properties, none were under construction yet.

In recent years, the most common complaint among tenants reaching out to Threshold was tenancy terminations followed by rent reviews and rent increases.

Last year in Cork city and county, Threshold dealt with 549 cases of tenancy terminations, 169 cases of suspected illegal rent reviews, and 186 cases of poor standard accommodation, with a further 149 cases focused on deposit retention.

So far in 2019, there have been 645 tenancy termination case in Cork city and county with rent review cases totalling 246 and standards complaints coming to 250.

There were 197 cases relating to deposit retention.

The Daft report for the second quarter of 2019 showed that the average Cork rents were €1,366, a 47% difference in comparison to the average mortgage at €923.

Threshold and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have called for the government to immediately implement a deposit protection scheme to safeguard rental deposits and protect tenants in the private rented sector against potential scams.

“This scheme has been promised for several years,” said Threshold chairperson Aideen Hayden. “The Government initially committed to addressing the illegal retention of deposits by landlords in its 2011 programme for government, and successive ministers for housing have agreed to its introduction.”

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