Housing charity dealing with four evictions in Cork per day

“If landlords want to get out of the market, then let the State purchase the property in question and keep the tenant in situ.”
Housing charity dealing with four evictions in Cork per day

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said an entire generation have been “locked into an unaffordable rental market and locked out of ever being able to afford their own home”.

HOUSING organisation Threshold is now dealing with an average of four notices of termination a day in Cork city and county, as landlords continue to exit the housing market — and a Cork TD says that the State needs to start purchasing homes in order to keep tenants in them.

“If landlords want to get out of the market, then let the State purchase the property in question and keep the tenant in situ,” Socialist Party & Solidarity TD Mick Barry said.

“I put forward a bill to the Oireachtas seeking to ban evictions on grounds of sale of property. I would be perfectly willing to allow it be amended to put arrangements such as this in place.”

His comments come in the wake of comments from representatives of Threshold who told an Oireachtas committee this week that, nationally, it now receives one call every 20 minutes from tenants facing eviction.

Yesterday, the Dáil was told renters need relief, and that runaway rents need to stop.

In Cork, the Threshold team has dealt with some 800 notice of termination cases in the first eight months of this year, in comparison with 467 from the same period in 2021.

Not the full picture

Edel Conlon, regional services manager of Threshold, Cork, says that current homeless figures do not reflect the full scale of the crisis.

“Some families may return to their parents’ house and raise their families from one bedroom,” she said. “This family will not be included in the homeless figures.”

She says those in emergency accommodation face severe difficulties trying to maintain their daily lives.

“There are families trying to continue working while living in [emergency] accommodation,” she said.

“In some instances, families might be placed miles from their work or their children’s schools.”

She said increasing supply is the solution.

“We need to increase housing supply across the board — private rentals, social housing, cost rental, student housing, and home ownership,” she said.

“We need to protect the tenancies in place by introducing financial relief for renters, increasing HAP payments, and extending rent pressure zones. We also need to work with landlords to keep them in the private rented sector and build more emergency accommodation so children don’t have to live in hotel rooms.”

Ms Conlon said rents in Cork are far beyond the reach of many of the people Threshold is working with.

“If you are looking for a one-bedroom, you will be expected to pay €850 in Clondrohid, which is the [cheapest], €1,400 on Mary St and €1,600 in Innishannon,” she said.

“If it’s a two-bed you might need for your family, it’s €800 in Timoleague, €2,300 in Maryborough, and €2,500 on Strawberry Hill. Those with larger families will need to fork out €1,400 in Dunmanway, €1,800 in Blarney, and €2,200 on Pouladuff Rd.

“Many of our clients can’t afford these rents and, in many cases, will need to present to the local authority as homeless.

“As you can imagine, this is a very stressful and upsetting time for people.”

Yesterday the Dáil heard renters need relief, and runaway rents need to stop.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said an entire generation have been “locked into an unaffordable rental market and locked out of ever being able to afford their own home”.

He described house prices as “out of control”, adding that thousands of people living in the private rental sector are “frightened”.

He reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for the Government to introduce tax credits for renters, along with a ban on rent price increases as part of its budget measures.

Mr Doherty said: “Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people, working people in their late 40s and 50s, are living in the private rental sector.

“They’re frightened that they have no way out of that rental market and face a future of pension poverty because of runaway rents.

“This housing failure is robbing our people of their hopes, of their dreams for the future.”

The Sinn Féin finance spokesman added: “Renters need relief and, as you know, Sinn Féin have been calling on your Government, year after year, to provide support for renters.

“We have proposed for years a refundable tax credit that would put one month’s rent back into renters’ pockets — reducing the rental costs and lifting some of the burden from them.”

He said the measures need to be accompanied by a ban on rent increases.

“Renters are being fleeced, runaway rents need to stop, renters can be supported and runaway rents can be tackled — but the choice is yours.” 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described the current high cost of rent in Ireland as “out of kilter and disproportionate when compared to our peer countries”.

He told TDs during leaders’ questions that he could not comment on budget proposals, as discussions to finalise the measures were taking place and would continue throughout the weekend.

He added that if there are any tax concessions introduced for landlords in the budget, then there should also be tax concessions for renters.

Mr Varadkar also said the most important thing the Government can do to address the housing crisis is to provide more social homes, and that they were “probably going to break records in terms of the number of new social houses provided in Ireland this year getting up to the kind of figures we haven’t seen since the 1970s”.

He added the cost-rental scheme and the help-to-buy scheme were helping people to get on the property ladder.

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