Housing charity dealing with four evictions in Cork a day

The HOUSING Threshold organization is now processing an average of four termination notices a day in Cork City and County as landlords continue to exit the housing market – and a Cork TD says the state must start to buy houses in order to keep tenants in them.

“If the owners want to get out of the market, then let the state buy the property in question and keep the tenant there,” said Socialist Party & Solidarity TD Mick Barry.

“I have presented a bill to the Oireachtas to outlaw evictions for the sale of property. I would be perfectly willing to allow it to be amended to put in place provisions like this.

His comments follow comments from Threshold representatives who told an Oireachtas committee this week that nationwide he now receives a call every 20 minutes from tenants facing eviction.

The Dáil was told yesterday that tenants needed relief and that runaway rents had to end.

In Cork, the Threshold team handled some 800 redundancy notice cases in the first eight months of this year, compared to 467 for the same period in 2021.

Not the full picture

Edel Conlon, regional services manager for Threshold, Cork, says current homelessness figures do not reflect the full scale of the crisis.

“Some families can go back to their parents’ house and raise their family from one bedroom,” she said. “This family will not be included in the homeless counts.”

She says people in emergency accommodation face serious difficulties trying to maintain their daily lives.

“There are families who try to continue working while living in [emergency] housing,” she said.

“In some cases, families may be placed miles away from their jobs or their children’s schools.”

She said increasing the supply is the solution.

“We need to increase the supply of housing at all levels – private rentals, social housing, cost rental, student accommodation and home ownership,” she said.

“We need to protect existing leases by introducing financial relief for tenants, increasing HAP payments and expanding areas of rent pressure. We also need to work with landlords to keep them in the private rental sector and build more emergency housing so children don’t have to live in hotel rooms.

Ms Conlon said rents in Cork are far beyond the reach of many people Threshold works with.

“If you are looking for a T2, you will have to pay €850 to Clondrohid, which is the [cheapest]€1,400 on Mary St and €1,600 in Innishannon,” she said.

“If it’s a two-bed flat you might need for your family, it’s €800 in Timoleague, €2,300 in Maryborough and €2,500 in Strawberry Hill. Those with larger families will have to shell out €1,400 in Dunmanway, €1,800 in Blarney and €2,200 on Pouladuff Rd.

“Many of our customers cannot afford these rents and in many cases will have to report to local authorities as homeless.

“As you can imagine, this is a very stressful and upsetting time for people.”

Yesterday the Dáil heard that tenants needed relief and that runaway rents should end.

Sinn Féin TD Pearse Doherty said an entire generation has been ‘locked into an unaffordable rental market and prevented from being able to afford their own home’.

He described property prices as “out of control”, adding that thousands of people living in the private rental sector are “scared”.

He reiterated Sinn Féin’s call for the government to introduce tax credits for tenants, as well as a ban on rent hikes as part of its budget measures.

Mr Doherty said: “Thousands if not tens of thousands of people, workers in their late 40s and 50s, live in the private rental sector.

“They are afraid that they have no way out of this rental market and face a future of pension poverty due to runaway rents.

“This housing crisis is robbing our people of their hopes, of their dreams for the future.”

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson added: “Tenants need relief and, as you know, Sinn Féin has called on your government year after year to provide support for tenants.

“We’ve been offering a refundable tax credit for years that would put a month’s rent back in the pockets of tenants, reducing rental costs and easing some of their burden.”

He said the measures must be accompanied by a ban on rent increases.

“Tenants are cheated, out of control rents must end, tenants can be supported and out of control rents can be fought – but the choice is yours.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described the current high cost of rent in Ireland as “out of step and disproportionate to our peer countries”.

He told TDs during Leaders’ Questions that he could not comment on the budget proposals as discussions to finalize the measures were ongoing and would continue through the weekend.

He added that if tax breaks are introduced for landlords in the budget, there should also be tax breaks for renters.

Mr Varadkar also said that the most important thing the government can do to solve the housing crisis is to provide more social housing, and that they will “probably break records in terms of the number of new social housing provided in Ireland this year on rising”. the kind of numbers we haven’t seen since the 1970s.

He added that the rental program and the purchase assistance program help people get on the property ladder.

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