Joan Burton (top) and Focus Ireland’s warning (above)
Rents in Dublin increase by 20 per cent.
No rent supplement increase since April 2013
According to the Department of Social Affairs:
increasing the rent limits would have several potentially negative effects, including: providing an impetus for current Rent Supplement landlords to renegotiate their lease agreements to the new limits, impacting on all existing recipients; and Creating new rental floors for all properties in the sector, meaning rent increases for those not in receipt of Rent Supplement. These would include many individuals and families who would struggle with such increases, such as low-income workers and students…
Focus Ireland respond:
The Tánaiste’s decision not to make any increase in the maximum rents payable by households in receipt of Rent Supplement will effectively sign the eviction notice for hundreds of families over the coming months.
We believe that this report [Review of Rent Levels] has no credibility as an objective review of the income levels which households which rely on social welfare need to hold onto their homes. It is essentially a statement of how the destitution of households dependent on Rent Supplement is to be used as a crude measure to moderate rents in the private rented sector
For over a year, we have been drawing attention to the fact that the levels of Rent Supplement have fallen well behind the actual rents required by landlords. This has resulted in substantial increases in general homelessness, and unprecedented homelessness among families.
Over 100 families have lost their homes and been forced to live in emergency B&Bs or hotel rooms in the first two months of this year alone. Virtually all of these families have become homeless due to rising rents in the private rented sector.
The Review of Rent Supplement levels published by the Department of Social Protection sets out extensive and detailed evidence that rents have escalated in every area of the country since the last review over 20 months ago. It notes that the average increase over this period is over 14% and that the increase in the areas where people who rely on Rent supplement live have been even higher.
Since the middle of 2014, the Tánaiste has stated that the impact of rising rents was ‘under review’, the publication of this report draws to an end the pretence that she is going to make an effective policy response to this crisis. She is not going to give these household the resources to pay the market rents that their landlords are requiring.
The purpose of the Rent Supplement scheme is to provide support to people whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs. However the Department appear to be using the Rent Supplement scheme to achieve a range of other goals, with very negative consequences on those who depend on the scheme to provide their home.
We intend on seeking legal advice as to whether the Department of Social Protection is acting outside its legal remit in failing to give adequate priority to the objectives of the scheme as set down in legislation.
Focus ireland (Facebook)