Number of eviction notices issued to renters increase by 58%

Almost 3,000 notices to quit were issued between January and the end of June.
Number of eviction notices issued to renters increase by 58%

The number of eviction notices issued to renters increased by 58 per cent in the first half of the year, compared with the final six months of 2021.

According to figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), almost 3,000 notices to quit were issued between January and the end of June.

Most landlords are exiting the market because they want to sell their property, according to RTB analysis.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien is under pressure to intervene as some of these renters are likely to end up seeking emergency homeless accommodation.

From July 6th last year, new notice periods were issued to landlords seeking to end a tenancy. The new notice periods only apply to tenancies that are less than three years old. The minimum requirement is 90 days for a tenancy that is less than six months in duration, but if the tenancy is more than eight years old, the landlord is required to give 224 days’ notice.

The RTB figures were made available to Sinn Féin housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin.

Commenting on the sharp rise in quit notices, Mr Ó Broin said the minister must consider all options, including a fresh ban on evictions, to deal with the problem.

“All options must be on the table for consideration, including a temporary ban on evictions, an accelerated tenant-in-situ purchase scheme by local authorities, an acceleration of social housing delivery, and tax reform in the private rental sector,” he said.

The Dublin Mid-West TD said the Minister for Housing needs to convene an urgent meeting to address this clear crisis in the rental sector.

“This meeting must happen immediately and include the Residential Tenancies Board, tenants' and landlords' representative organisations, and opposition housing spokespersons,” he said.

"We urgently need a crisis intervention plan to slow down the disorderly exit of private landlords exiting the rental market."

He said on the basis of the figures released to him on Friday, the number of single people and families being evicted will increase every month for the remainder of this year and into 2023.

"This will lead to a level of homelessness that we previously would have thought impossible," he said. "I have written to the Minister for Housing urging him to act before it is too late.”

Darragh O’Brien said the key to solving the housing crisis was the delivery of new social housing and boosting overall supply.

"This year, funding is in place to deliver 11,800 new social homes, including 9,000 new builds," the Minister said.

"That is the highest number in any given year in the history of the State and is thus building on the progress we made last year when, even with Covid, we delivered 9,183 new social homes — a 17 per cent increase on 2020."

Rising homelessness

The Simon Communities of Ireland said it was worried that in the absence of public housing options, the trend in eviction notices will see the number of people experiencing homelessness continue to increase.

Wayne Stanley, head of policy and communications at the Simon Communities, said: "We know from RTB data that these notices to quit are a consequence of landlords leaving the private rental market. This is contributing to the absence of options for those wanting to leave homelessness and driving too many others into homelessness.

"The homeless crisis in Ireland will only deepen if we don’t see further actions taken to make affordable homes available.

"While we have to acknowledge that there are no easy solutions in housing, the Simon Communities of Ireland believes there is potential to bring vacant properties into the housing system, ideally the local authority system.

"With enough ambition this can secure the homes that can see homelessness start to fall again."

Incentives

Focus Ireland’s advocacy director Mike Allen has called on the Government to introduce incentives to encourage landlords to maintain long term tenancies in response to the RTB report.

Mr Allen told RTÉ radio’s Today show with Philip Boucher Hayes “something needs to be done.” In the last quarter 700 households had been given notice to leave their home and homeless services were already struggling.

“When those families hit the system we will see something appalling,” he warned.

There was a misapprehension among landlords in relation to the rules about lifelong tenancy, they fear that "they can never put the tenants out.” This needed to be addressed as it was the reason why so many landlords were leaving the sector.

Mr Allen urged the Government to introduce tax relief for landlords who allow tenants to stay for a specific amount of time. This would be a cost saving exercise in the long run. There should also be incentives for landlords to upgrade their rental properties as a sign of their commitment to the sector.

The absence of such incentives was shocking, he said.

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