Tuesday, 18th September 2018
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The soaring cost of rent as seen in the latest Daft.ie report coupled with a shortage of supply in Waterford City and County is a major concern for local Focus Ireland Manager David Niblock.

In Waterford City, the increase in rents was 12.1% during the year to December 2017, up to an average of €835. A one bedroom apartment in Waterford City now costs an average of €626 per month, up over 13% in a year. There were 3,143 properties available to rent nationwide on February 1. This is the lowest number ever recorded for this time of year since the series started in 2006.

Focus Ireland has called for more urgent Government action to tackle rocketing rents as the new Daft report shows rents have shot up to a new all-time record of €1,227 per month nationally, the seventh quarter in a row a new all-time high has been set. The charity warned that the range of Government measures designed to address the rental crisis has had very limited impact so far.

Waterford Focus Ireland Manager David Niblock said: "The DAFT report clearly show that actions the Government has taken – such as Rent Pressure Zones – have not been implemented effectively. Average rentof €704 in Waterford City for a two bed property apartment tells its own story. While the Rent Pressure Zones have helped curtail rent increases for some sitting tenants there are so many loopholes in the legislation it is still far too easy for landlords to ignore."

"We have a truly dysfunctional housing system and while we recognise that Government has taken a number of measures, the evidence is clear that these still fall far short of what is needed. These massive rent increases are like a fever that needs to be controlled if we are not to see thousands of families, including those on decent wages, forced out of their homes. Rent Pressure Zones are failing not because they are a bad idea, but because of the failure of effective implementation."

Mr Niblock explained: "There is no monitoring to check if landlords are abiding by the 4% rent increase cap when one tenant leaves and a new tenant signs a new lease. It seems these rules are being widely ignored. There is nothing to stop landlords claiming that they will sell up and evict their tenants in order to push rents up."

Focus Ireland has called for effective monitoring and penalties to be put in place for any landlords that are caught breaking the rent cap in a rent pressure zone. The majority of landlords are decent and want to abide by the laws, but must be very frustrating for them to see other landlords break the rules with impunity.

Of the five categories of property in Waterford City, from one through to five bed homes, not one property type has seen a drop in rental costs in the last year.

Those who live in the county environs have also endured percentage rises in rental costs; a one bedroom apartment outside of the city now costs more than €523, up 9.4% in a year.

From their lowest point, rents have risen by between 30% and 40% in much of Munster. Across Munster there are 20% fewer homes available to rent compared to this time last year. Furthermore, room costs across Munster rose by almost 10% on average during 2017.

Mr Niblock said: "Our frontline staff here in Waterford City and County are still dealing with people who have become homeless from the rental sector as rents have been hiked up and they can't afford them. There needs to be a much wider range of Government actions taken to keep protecting tenants and keep them in their homes."

Focus Ireland also said that is not helpful that the full review of Rebuilding Ireland – which was meant to be concluded in September – is not to be published. There have been a wide range of announcements and plan, but there is now no single document which sets out what is to be delivered and when it will be delivered.

For interview requests, please contact Focus Ireland Waterford Manager David Niblock on 0868078525.

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