Almost one-fifth of private tenants paying more than 50% of net pay in rent

Almost One-Fifth Of Private Tenants Paying More Than 50% Of Net Pay In Rent
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Michelle McGlynn

The vast majority of tenants living in the private rented sector say they found it difficult to find rental accommodation.

A new survey from national housing charity Threshold found 91 per cent of tenants reported difficulties in securing accommodation.


Just 15 per cent of the over 150 tenants surveyed are living in rented accommodation by choice with the majority renting because they can't afford to buy a home or are unable to access a mortgage or social housing.

Nearly one-fifth of respondents are paying out more than half of their take-home pay on rent with 57 per cent paying more than 30 per cent.

In the past year, almost a quarter had seen their rent increased with 44 per cent of these increased by the maximum 4 per cent permitted in a Rent Pressure Zone.

Less than half feel secure in their current rented home with 41 per cent residing in their current accommodation for a year or less.



When asked why they had left their previous rented accommodation, 43 per cent reported they were forced to leave with a quarter saying their previous landlord had decided to sell the property or use it themselves.

Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, said the latest Tenant Sentiment Survey painted a grim picture of people's rental experiences.

"Given these findings, it is unsurprising that people do not want to live in the sector: the lack of security of tenure in the sector is having a real human impact," she said.

Of the tenants surveyed, 70 per cent have been living in the private rented sector for six years or more with almost half wanting to own their own home within the next five years.


Just 14 per cent want to be renting in five years' time but over half of these will need to do so with the support of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) or the Rental Accommodation Scheme.

"We are particularly concerned about the far-reaching consequences of carrying a rental burden into old age – in the absence of adequate social housing provision, the State will ultimately pay a hefty price in order to support older people's housing needs by relying on the private rented sector," said Ms Hayden.

The coronavirus pandemic has left many renters struggling to pay their rent.

One-third reported their income had been reduced as a result of the Covid-19 restrictions.


Of those who lost income, only 37 per cent applied for rent supplement or HAP to help pay their rent. 10 per cent of tenants surveyed reported being in rent arrears.

Despite the introduction of eviction bans during lockdowns, a large number of renters feel less secure in their rented home since the introduction of the Covid-19 restrictions.

"Many of those working in employment sectors such as hospitality and tourism, whose incomes have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 restrictions, are living in the private rented sector," said Ms Hayden.

"They face an uncertain future as they struggle to pay rents that far exceed the cost of a mortgage."


"hugely insecure"

Sociologist Professor Niamh Hourigan, said the Threshold survey demonstrates that the private sector offers "hugely insecure" housing with rents that consume an unsustainable proportion of tenants' incomes.

"The pressing need to provide affordable housing schemes for purchasers and social housing built by the State for those who will never be able to afford to buy, has never been more evident," said Prof Hourigan.

"During the 20th century, successive Irish governments – who faced considerable economic challenges – managed to deliver both affordable housing to buy, and social housing to rent.

"One wonders why the provision of this basic facet of human existence remains beyond the capacities of 21st-century Irish governments?"

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