Loss of and inability to find private rental accommodation key cause of homelessness
A report presented at today’s Dublin City Council Housing Strategic Policy Committee identified the loss of private rental accommodation and subsequent inability to find replacement private rental accommodation as the key source of homelessness. The reason cited for the loss of private rental accommodation was a Notice to Quit. The next most significant cause was relationship breakdown, usually from living in overcrowded family circumstances. However, it was noted that often the cause for the overcrowded situation was family members moving in with other family members due to the loss of private rental accommodation.
https://www.dublincity.ie/councilmeetings/documents/s14267/4.%20Housing%20Supply%20Report%20-%20Homeless%20Update.pdf (a fuller report was circulated to Councillors)
Cllr Gilliland said:
“This report confirms that the government needs to take more targeted action to make private rental tenancies more secure. If the landlord needs to sell, there should be a first obligation to sell the unit without impacting the tenant or his/her expectation of continuing with that tenancy. Failing a sale that continues the tenancy, local authorities should be enabled to step in and acquire the property to prevent the tenants becoming homeless. Long term, the cost of such acquisitions would far outweigh both the financial and the emotional cost to families of providing emergency homeless accommodation.
“I would advise further follow-up research to verify the sale of properties where tenants have received a notice to quit citing the sale of the property. Too often I have heard that, having had the tenant move out, the landlord cites inability to sell and subsequently advertises the property for a higher rent.
“Another measure that could be taken is to define ‘substantial refurbishment’ that requires a tenant to quit. Again stringent follow-up should be put in place to verify such refurbishments.
“A substantial fine and a ban from being a landlord for a minimum period of 2 years should be applied in any case whereby a landlord is found to have used a notice to quit for sale or notice to quit for substantial refurbishments as a vehicle to achieve a rent hike over an above the 4% limit.
“Such a suite of measures would remove some of the fear of homeless many families and individuals living in private rental accommodation experience.”