Only 50 properties in 16 areas were available to rent for under the discretionary rate of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme if local authorities provided the maximum level of support, a report by a housing charity has found.
The Simon Communities of Ireland’s quarterly Locked Out of the Market report, shows 50 properties were available to rent within a discretionary rate of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme over three dates in June.
The report found 934 properties were available to rent at any price within the 16 areas over the three dates surveyed last month. This represents a 39 per cent (262 properties) increase from the 672 properties that were available in the March 2023 Locked Out report.
74 per cent of properties available to rent were located within the three Dublin areas studied. Portlaoise had the lowest number of homes available to rent with just three properties available over the three days surveyed.
Sligo had two properties available during the study period. Five of the 16 study areas experienced a decrease in the availability of properties to rent, including Athlone, Galway City Suburbs, Kildare, Sligo Town and Portlaoise.
Wayne Stanley, Executive Director at the Simon Communities of Ireland, explained said it produce this “snapshot to provide an insight” into the private rental market from the perspective of those on low incomes trying to exit or avoid homelessness.
Mr Stanley said: “While this snapshot does show some improvement in availability, the findings are a stark reminder of the disheartening difficulty that those experiencing homelessness face as they seek a way out of homelessness through the private rental market.”
Just 5.4 per cent of all properties available to rent in the study were available within the HAP rate. “For comparison, in 2021, on average, 27 per cent of all properties examined in the Locked Out of the Market series were available within a HAP rate,” he said.
As with many recent Locked Out of the Market reports, the supply of properties within HAP limits are predominantly in Dublin with 37, or 74 per cent, of the total 50 HAP properties found in the three Dublin areas examined. Dublin has a discretionary HAP rate of 50 per cent compared to 35 per cent for the rest of the country.
Nine of the 16 areas had no HAP properties available to rent in any household category within standard or discretionary limits. These were Athlone, Cork city Centre, Galway City Centre, Co Leitrim, Limerick City Suburbs, Limerick City Centre, Sligo Town, Portlaoise, and Waterford city.