The number of tenants at risk of eviction now stands at 76 per cent by 2019, a year before a moratorium on evictions was imposed due to the Covid pandemic, according to figures from housing agency Threshold.
On average this year, Threshold supported 462 private tenants a month who received notices to stop eviction – 58 per cent of which were because the landlord was planning to sell the property. Three years ago, it helped an average of 263 tenants a month who were facing eviction.
The figures will be presented to an Oireachtas committee on Tuesday amid warnings from Threshold that “hidden homelessness”, which usually excludes those forced to seek alternative, often short-term accommodation, is expected to rise in the coming months. in official data.
“We expect the number of homeless people to increase in the coming months; however, we are hearing that some local authorities are unable to provide emergency accommodation and are therefore turning people away,” the agency said in a statement to the Oireachtas housing committee.
“This will mean an increase in the number of people living in hidden homelessness, sleeping on sofas, on the floor, in cars or sleeping rough. These people will not be counted in the official numbers of the homeless.”
According to the charity, some rents outside rental pressure zones (RPZs) have risen by 60 per cent, and in some cases even doubled. In his previous budget statement, he pushed for the re-introduction of tax breaks for renters and the creation of a €20 million debt fund.
Separately, representatives of property owners will introduce a new 25 percent tax for institutional landlords. Both the Irish Property Owners Association (IPOA), which represents smaller private landlords, and the Institute of Professional Auctioneers and Valuers (IPAV) will argue before the committee that such a levy could be used to lower rates for its members, also by up to 25 cents, and dissuade them from leaving the market.
IPOA data shows that non-institutional landlords provide 94 per cent of rental accommodation (70 per cent of which own five or fewer properties), most of which have been purchased as retirement investments.
It will say that “the tax rate is 25 percent for all mutual funds/REITS [real estate investment trusts] working on the rental market … will bring some much-needed balance to the treatment of landlords.’
“A private investor is taxed at a marginal rate of up to 55 percent, while a private equity fund/REIT pays 0 percent tax on rental income once they exit the market for a certain period.”
In its statement, citing its own market research, IPAV said the capital value of RPZ properties is falling, while in many cases non-institutional landlords leaving the market are being replaced by institutional-owned properties at significantly more high rent.
The committee is also due to hear from Dr Michael Byrne of the School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice at University College Dublin.
He offers a snapshot of the market, citing research from various sources showing that nearly 70 percent of families presenting as homeless come from the private rental sector, most of whom have been evicted.
RTB figures contained in Dr Byrne’s statement show that quit notices issued by landlords increased by 58 per cent in the first half of this year, again as a result of overwhelming sales.
Although an Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) study this year found that the introduction of RPZ legislation was associated with lower annual rent increases, rent inflation for new tenancies “continues to be very high”.
Dr Byrne will tell the committee that while subsidies such as Housing Benefit Payment (Hap) have provided important support, they risk further driving up rents “and do very little to address the housing instability outlined above”.