New research has found that a lack of security of tenure is the biggest worry for renters, followed by rent hikes and a lack of housing supply.
These are issues being experienced by renters of all ages and backgrounds, according to the Renting and Risk report from the homeless charity Threshold and the Citizens Information Board.
It states that the percentage of people in Irish society who are renting has more than doubled in the last 25 years but legislation has not kept up with the changes. Renting has gone from 8 per cent of the population to 20 per cent between the censuses of 1991 and 2016, the report says.
Threshold policy officer Ann-Marie O’Reilly said the data in the report is indicative of the extent to which the private rental sector now operates and renders an increasing number of tenants vulnerable.
“Anyone who has ever rented a home will likely identify with this sentiment,” she said. “This lack of security was most strongly evident in the exposure experienced by private renters when their landlord decided to sell the home, or to take it back for their own use, or when a private renter feels they must accept an invalid rent increase.”
The report recommends the inclusion of a right to housing in the Constitution and the removal of “no-fault” eviction from the Residential Tenancies Acts. The latter would only allow a landlord to evict where a tenant has breached the agreement, for example non-payment of rent or damage to the property.
The report recommends expanding Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) nationally, developing a greater enforcement of RPZs and developing supports for renters who accrue rent arrears. It calls on the State to take a greater role in building housing as it is the only thing that will be a “viable and long-lasting mechanism to stabilising rents in Ireland”.