80% of Cork houses too dear for HAP renters

80% of Cork houses too dear for HAP renters

ALMOST 80% of properties in Cork city are too expensive to rent for people on rent supplement or HAP.

The Simon Community revealed the shocking figures as part of their 'Locked Out of the Market' study.

The survey, conducted over three days in March, assessed the price of rental properties in the city centre and contrasted these with the financial supports available to people on rent supplement or HAP.

There was an average of just 54 properties available to rent in Cork city on the days surveyed, a decline of 13 versus their previous study last November.

Just 12 of these were within the limits available on the schemes, meaning that 78% of the properties available to rent in Cork city are out of reach for those in receipt of housing supports.

Not one of the properties listed for rent was available within the rent supplement or HAP limits for a single person or a couple with two children, with just three properties available to a couple with no children.

The average rent sought for a one-bed property on the days in question was €760, 38% above the maximum limits for a single person on the schemes.

Nationally, the figures are even worse. Just 12% of properties surveyed are available within HAP or rent supplement limits, with single people facing growing issues in the market.

The average one-bedroom apartment rent is 35% above the threshold.

Niamh Randall, national spokesperson for the Simon Communities in Ireland, said that the shortage of available rental properties means that last year's one-off increase in supplement limits has not kept pace with the inflation in the market.

Ms Randall said, "Ireland's private rented market is not working. People who rent have very little security and can face increases in rent that they cannot meet.

"Many people who are becoming homeless are coming from the private rental sector."

The continued volatility in the market means that more people are falling out of the market and becoming trapped in emergency accommodation, Ms Randall added.

The private rental sector is coming under increasing pressure to deliver social housing through rent supplement and HAP, according to the report.

"It is essential that local authorities get back into the business of building and acquiring social housing on the scale required to meet ever-growing housing need with the support of Approved Housing Bodies," it added.

The report called for rent certainty and the introduction of indefinite leasing as a matter of priority, as well as the adjustment of rent supplement and HAP limits on a bi-annual basis.

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