25 May 2022

Focus Ireland urges government to help 'generation rent', criticises priority for landlords

Focus Ireland urges government to help 'generation rent', criticises priority for landlords

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Homelessness charity Focus Ireland (FI) has urged the government to help 'generation rent'.

It follows after research cited Ireland as one of the most poorly regulated rental sectors in western Europe.

Dr Richard Waldron, of Queens University Belfast, presented research findings from his article ‘Generation Rent and Housing Precarity in ‘Post Crisis’ Ireland’ earlier today during FI's monthly Lunchtime Talks.

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His research found the number of households in the rental sector with children has surged by 272 per cent among couples and 137 per cent among lone parents with children.

Commenting on the research, FI's director of advocacy, Mike Allen, said: “The timely piece of analyses from Dr Waldron shows how stark and prolonged the rental crisis is: when the economic crash hit in 2008, we witnessed thousands of young people forced to leave the country due to a lack of jobs."

"We are now again facing further emigration as ‘generation rent’ are left with a scarcity of secure accommodation in Ireland."

Mr Allen continued: "For the last 14 years, we have seen repeated govts prioritise the interests of landlords instead of tenants’ rights who been priced out of housing markets.

"The most unforgiving of this crisis is the sheer number of children and families who are on the verge of homelessness due to the unstable housing sector.

"Meanwhile, there are 2,500 children who are homeless with their families and most lost their homes in the rental sector due to rocketing rents, insecurity of tenure and the rising cost of living."

Mr Allen also said that Dr Waldron's analysis "rightly cites" Rory Hearne’s assertion that the security of tenure and the length of leases are key concerns for renting families (Hearne is an Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Social Policy in the Department of Applied Social Studies at Maynooth University).

He elaborated: "Irish tenancies are typically arranged on an annual basis, often with upward rent reversions imposed at the end of each year.

"This article also states there is also long-standing issues with lack of enforcement and penalties for landlords who break lease agreements or let poor quality accommodation," Mr Allen added.

Further findings:

  • Security of tenure and the length of leases were both found to be key concerns for renting families.
  • Those in the age 30-44 bracket were found to be the largest age group of renters, an increase of 191 per cent in ten years.
  • The research also cites how the experience of housing uncertainty is widespread, with between 72 to 77 per cent of renters having experienced some degree of uncertainty between the years 2008 and 2016.
  • In addition, capital expenditure by the govt on social housing construction dipped from €1.4 billion in 2008 to just €167 million in 2014.

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