More landlords than ever are exiting the market and putting their properties up for sale, evicting tenants and driving a rise in family homelessness, new figures suggest.
There was a sharp increase throughout last year in the number of notices to quit issued to tenants, according to the Residential Tenancies Board, rising from 352 in the first quarter of the year to 958 in the final quarter.
Over half of all such notices were given because the landlord decided to sell the property. Over 600 landlords told tenants to move out because they were putting the property up for sale in the last three months of last year.
Many tenants have difficulty securing new places to live, with some requiring emergency accommodation.
Other reasons given – accounting for almost a quarter of all notices to quit – included that the landlord or a family member intended to use the property themselves. A “breach of tenant obligations” accounted for just 14 per cent of notices to quit.
The figures from the RTB, released to Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin, suggest 80 landlords a week exited the market in the last three months of 2021.
Mr Ó Broin said the new figures were “very alarming”.
“Not only are we seeing a surge in eviction notices, we are also seeing a dramatic increase in the number of landlords selling up,” he told The Irish Times.
“This is not a new trend but Government refuses to put in place a plan to slow down this disorderly exit of accidental and semi-professional landlords from the market.”
Mr Ó Broin suggested that where the properties are put up for sale, local authorities should buy them, effectively becoming the landlords.
“Local authorities must be allowed to buy any properties with HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) or RAS (Rental Accommodation Scheme) tenants in place who are at risk of homelessness,” he said.
January homeless figures for both Dublin and nationwide – which indicated there were 9,150 homeless adults and children in emergency accommodation, an increase of 236 on December – suggest the exit of small landlords from the market is fuelling a rise in homeless numbers.
In addition there is a decline in the numbers being able to exit emergency accommodation as private tenancies become harder to find, suggesting the homelessness problem is likely to worsen in the coming months.