HAP renters 'will struggle to make ends meet' as rents rise in Cork

HAP renters 'will struggle to make ends meet' as rents rise in Cork

THRESHOLD has warned that renters in Cork on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) “will struggle to meet ends meet” as the cost of renting increases across both city and county. It comes following the latest rental report from Daft.ie which found that the cost of renting in Cork City has risen by 6.3% in the past year, while rent prices in Cork County have increased by almost 9%.

THRESHOLD has warned that renters in Cork on the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) “will struggle to meet ends meet” as the cost of renting increases across both city and county.

It comes following the latest rental report from Daft.ie which found that the cost of renting in Cork City has risen by 6.3% in the past year, while rent prices in Cork County have increased by almost 9%.

The average rent in Cork City is now €1,483, though HAP limits remain at €550 for one adult.

According to the chairperson of Threshold, Aideen Hayden, approximately half of renters in Ireland are aged between 18 and 34; the age cohort most adversely impacted by Covid-related income loss and unemployment.

Edel Conlon, Southern Regional Services Manager at Threshold, said that young, single people and couples who have had to rely on the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) must find a property within the HAP or rent supplement limit, which will be difficult. “These properties are virtually non-existent,” she said.

Ms Conlon said that the HAP limits in Cork City Centre are only €550 for one adult and €650 for a couple, but the average rent in the area is €1,483.

“This means that these tenants may be forced to pay their rent out of their PUP allowance and will struggle to make ends meet,” she said.

“While the shift towards remote working brings with it many positives in terms of people having more diverse living options, we can already see rents outside Dublin climbing."

She added: “The option for people to relocate in line with remote working policies will only be viable if rents are affordable.” 

Throughout Munster, rents have risen by an average of 8.8%.

CEO of Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty said that they “are seriously concerned about affordability in the rental market, with average rents increasing year-on-year across Munster”.

“Rents in Cork, Galway and Limerick Cities all increased by over 6%, while rents in Waterford increased by over 8%. As many of these cities are designated Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ), it is yet more evidence that the RPZs are not being adhered to," he said.

With the current legislation on Rent Pressure Zones due to expire later this year, Mr McCafferty called for clarity “sooner rather than later” as to what they will be replaced with.

“Not only is it necessary to sustain a form of rent regulation, measures are needed to bring rents down nationally and increase the level of housing that is affordable, not just based on two-income households earning in excess of the average wage.”

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