Galway Simon Community has responded to the latest Daft Report released this week saying the private rental market in Galway cannot sustain the delivery of social housing that is needed and that rent increases are resulting in people living in fear.
Galway rents have now increased for eleven consecutive quarters. The Daft Report released this week showed that Galway City and County have had rent increases of 41% and 40% respectively since the same period in 2015. Average rent in Galway City is now at €1,126, a huge jump of almost €360 since the same period in 2015 and is €856 in the county, an increase of €245.
72% of the social housing targets set for Galway this year were to be delivered through the private rental sector through HAP and RAS schemes. However, the latest reports show that in reality, 87% of social housing delivered to date in Galway has been delivered through HAP and RAS in the private rental sector.
Karen Golden, CEO of Galway Simon Community, said the over-reliance on the private rental sector, alongside the increasing rents cannot be sustained and will continue to force people into homelessness.
“For the last three years, there have been consistent increases in the average rent in both Galway City and County, to the point where renters are now paying 40% more than they were in 2015. The difference is huge. These rent increases are simply not sustainable for individuals and families in our community and they are pushing people over the edge and into homelessness.
The Housing Agency has reported that there is a shortage of 2,316 homes in Galway City and Suburbs. However, according to the latest CSO New Dwelling Completion figures, just 92 new dwellings have come on stream in the Galway City Council Local Authority area between January and September of this year. Demand continues to far outstrip supply, which is resulting in both purchase and rent prices continuing to increase.
Tenants are at a huge disadvantage – the Rent Pressure Zones (RPZ) that were put in place are clearly not working and the annual increases recorded by Daft continue to illustrate this. Rents in Galway City are increasing annually at 16% and in the county at 14%, well above the RPZ cap of 4%. Unfortunately, a lot of the people we support are living in fear of a phone call from their landlord to say they are selling or increasing the rent. It’s no way for anybody to live.
We are seeing sustained increases in the demand for our services, in line with the significant pressure that people are experiencing in our local community. So far this year, we have worked with 484 unique households, the majority of which, 73%, we supported to prevent them from becoming homeless. It must be remembered that behind each of these statistics are families and individuals who are struggling to keep their homes.
There is an over reliance on the private rental sector in Galway. We urgently need more social housing to be brought on stream in order to stop the flow of people coming into Emergency Accommodation.”
Wednesday 18th November 2018