Just 7% of people receiving welfare payments can afford city rents

Housing situation ‘going from bad to worse’ for welfare recipients, says Simon Community

Just 7 per cent of properties in the biggest towns and cities are affordable to those in receipt of rent supplement or housing assistance payments (HAP), new figures reveal.

Data, compiled by the Simon Community from figures supplied by daft.ie, show that the number of affordable properties is lower than at any time since it first began to compile figures in May 2015.

When it published its first Locked Out of the Market report, there were 1,150 properties in the private rental market within the range of those receiving rent allowance or housing assistance payments.

At the latest survey, which was conducted last month, that number had declined by more than half with just 538 properties available in 11 selected areas.


These areas were Cork city centre, Dublin city centre, Galway city centre, Limerick city centre, Waterford city centre, Portlaoise, north Kildare, Athlone, Sligo Town, Dundalk and Leitrim.

Four of those locations, Galway and Limerick city centres, Athlone and Portlaoise have no affordable properties available for tenants in receipt of either rent supplement or housing assistance payments.

Waiting list

There were just three properties available out of the 538 for single people though they make up 44 per cent of the social housing waiting list.

There are currently fewer properties to rent across the country, according to daft.ie (3,150) than there are households in emergency accommodation (5,232).

Simon Communities national spokesperson Niamh Randall said the situation for those in receipt of welfare payments has gone "from bad to worse".

Those depending on welfare cannot afford to buy a house and are forced to depend on the rental market, but some landlords are asking for three months’ rent in advance.

“People on housing benefit, low incomes or those leaving homelessness just cannot afford that. Furthermore, they may not be able to provide an employer reference or a previous landlord reference,” she said.


“The supply is simply not there for people to move on from emergency accommodation and homeless services. Over 9,000 people are stuck; there is nowhere for them to go.

“Many of these people in emergency accommodation are there because they have already lost their rented home.”

Ms Randall said the issue remains one of supply. " This is extremely problematic as the Government's Rebuilding Ireland plan is heavily reliant on the private rental sector to deliver social housing through HAP."

Simon has advocated that loopholes which allow for Section 34 evictions so landlords can renovate or sell their property, so called renovictions, have to be closed down.

Simon also wants increases in Housing First, rent supplement and housing assistance payments so welfare recipients can compete in the private rented sector.

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times