The Simon Community’s September 2022 Locked Out of the Market report shows lowest number of rental properties since the study began
By Rebecca Graham
There were no homes to rent in Limerick for a three-day period in September under the government’s social housing support scheme, a new report has revealed.
The Locked Out of the Market report, compiled by the Simon Community every quarter, provides a three-day snapshot of the private rental market.
Using data from the property website, daft.ie, the report tracks rental properties available to at any price, at current Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) rates, and under the higher discretionary HAP rates.
The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) is a social housing support for people who have a long-term housing need. HAP is available in all local authority areas and will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement. The scheme is administered by local authorities, who pay landlords directly.
The report found that in nine of the 16 study areas, there were no properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary HAP limits.
Only 13 properties were available to rent in Limerick when no cost limits were applied to the search, which took place from September 19 to 21 this year.
Of these properties, seven were available to rent in the suburbs, with rents ranging from €1800 to €2300 per month. Only six properties were available to rent in Limerick city centre.
No properties were available during this period under the HAP scheme or when discretionary HAP rates were applied to the search.
The report does not include student accommodation but assesses four household types; one-bedroom units for single people and couples, two-bedroom units for couples or one parent and one child, and units with two bedroom or more for couples or one parent with two children.
These latest figures are described in the report as “worryingly low.”
One case featured in the study was that of a couple referred to as John and Mary. The couple have three children and are at risk of homelessness as they cannot find a property to rent under the HAP scheme. They have viewed eight properties in the last six months.
“John and Mary’s story demonstrates how a chronic lack of affordable accommodation within the private rented sector is impacting people’s ability to find a stable and secure home,” the report states.
In Budget 2023, a tax credit of €500 a year for private rental tenants was announced. However, this does not apply to people in receipt of HAP support.
These stark figures come after Limerick Voice reported only last week that over 35% of UL students are facing homelessness.
Read Simon Community’s full Locked Out of the Market report.