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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Ciara Phelan

Government warned rental market is in 'state of crisis' as landlords sell up homes

The Government has been warned the rental market is in a “state of crisis” as landlords are selling up their homes leaving renters facing homelessness.

It comes as new data from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has revealed the number of renters being forced to leave their house by their landlords has more than doubled in the last year.

Almost 3,000 notices of termination were received in the first half of 2022, compared to over 1,800 in the final six months of 2021.

Read More: Calls for eviction ban as number of Irish renters forced out of homes doubles in a year

CEO of Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV), Pat Davitt said it was “sadly unsurprising, given the regulatory and deeply onerous taxation burden on non-institutional landlords.”

He said non-institutional or private landlords have seen an increasing diminution of their rights over a number of years without any balancing obligations on tenants.

He said:“Nowhere is this more evident than in where a tenant receiving HAP stops paying rent.

“It results in the Local Authority immediately stopping its portion of the payment to the landlord and the landlord is left without any rental income.

“It can take a substantial period to get the property back with a strong likelihood of never recovering the loss.

“The situation is getting worse, not better, with a plethora of further regulations this year, that is, we fully expect, contributing to the acceleration the RTB is now seeing.”

The National Housing Charity Threshold has said it assisted almost 3,000 renters who had received a notice of termination from their landlord in the first six months of this year.

And 55% of those were for the purposes of sale.

CEO of Threshold, John Mark McCafferty said: “The private rented sector is facing an onslaught of evictions.

“Behind the statistics are individuals and families entering homelessness and losing their homes.

“It is imperative that the government moves quickly to formulate a specific, targeted strategy for evictions to help keep people in their homes and ensure some level of security around this.

“This strategy must focus on how small landlords can be incentivised to remain in the sector.

“There have been widespread calls for reform of the taxation of rental income. If this is what is needed to keep them active in the sector, then the Government must introduce and expedite these changes.

“However, it is imperative that any reform of the tax burden on landlords is strictly linked to increased security of tenure for private renters, including ten-year lease agreements.”

Sinn Fein’s housing spokesman Eoin O’Broin said Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has to consider a ban on evictions.

He said the RTB figures are “very alarming and require urgent action.” He has called on Minister O’Brien to convene an urgent meeting and include the Residential Tenancies Board, tenants and landlords representative organisations and opposition housing spokespersons.

Meanwhile, the president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) has said that the Government must introduce legislation which offers protection to student renters.

Many students have been told that their planned student accommodation is now being offered on the open market, particularly in Donegal, Galway and Kerry.

Beth O'Reilly told RTÉ that private companies are seeking a profit from accommodation and if there isn't legislation to ensure that student accommodation stays as student accommodation, these companies are going to seek out a profit in whatever way they can.

She said: "We'd like to see legislation that protects student renters and ensures that their purpose-built student accommodation doesn't get its use changed to private use accommodation or just as holiday rental accommodation.

"We need to ensure that the Government is aware that this is an issue that is happening on local levels, not just in the cities. It needs to be addressed through legislation.

"We just don't have the number of beds that we need for students.

“When we're losing the beds that we have, it's creating a huge crisis for any student looking to enter into higher education.”

Fianna Fáil junior Minister for Housing Niall Collins said that the Government has "limited" options with regard to how to address the issue of student accommodation owners opting not to rent to students.

He said “you're into the whole area of constitutionality and property rights," and that it’s a “difficult situation for us to handle as a Government.”

He added:"I would call on those private operators to reconsider their approach and their stance.”

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