More than half of private tenants who contacted the national housing charity Threshold last year were deemed at risk of entering homelessness, according to its annual report.
A total of 19,947 households were assisted by the charity in 2021, of which 10,729 were considered to be at risk of homelessness.
There were more than 60,000 contacts made to Threshold last year, and tenancy terminations remains the largest issue facing private tenants for the fifth consecutive year, with almost a third of queries relating to it.
Threshold advisers encountered a larger level of queries concerning standards and repairs compared to previous years, with 10 per cent of private tenants seeking advice on their accommodation.
The charity said this may be due to delays in carrying out repairs during the public health restrictions throughout parts of 2020 and 2021.
John-Mark McCafferty, chief executive of Threshold, said almost 12,000 households contacted the charity for the first time in 2021.
“Our advisers supported this stark number of households with over 22,000 issues, meaning that some households faced two separate challenges in their private rental accommodation in the space of 12 months and required Threshold’s advice or help to deal with these,” he said.
“Our work is critical in supporting householders to remain in their homes, during what is a deepening housing crisis for many of those who rent and feel vulnerable.”
Mr McCafferty said the charity appreciated efforts taken by the Government in the latest budget to alleviate pressures facing private tenants, including financial supports and a ban on evictions for a five-month period.
“However we are reliant on the increase of affordable and secure housing which must be accelerated if we wish to see this crisis ease,” he added. “This is the absolute priority and the only way the situation can and will improve.”
The number of people in emergency accommodation exceeded 11,000 for the first time since current records began last month.
Data published by the housing department in November showed that during the week of October 24th to October 30th there were 11,397 people, including 3,480 children, in emergency accommodation.
It represents an almost 30 per cent increase in one year, from 8,830 people (2,513 children) in emergency accommodation in October 2021.
In July 2014, when current records began, there were 3,258 people in emergency accommodation.