State spending €15m a month on rent supplement to private landlords in Dublin

Almost €1m was paid to landlords last September in the Blanchardstown-Blakestown electoral division

Almost €15 million is spent on rent supplement each month in Dublin, with almost €1 million going to just one electoral area.

About €922,279.93 was paid by the State to private landlords last September in the Blanchardstown-Blakestown electoral division (ED) on behalf of 1,764 people who got an average of €522.83 a month in rent supplement.

The electoral division, in northwest Dublin, has the highest number of households reliant on the social transfer in a new interactive “housing monitoring tool” being launched today. The area with the fewest households dependent on rent supplement a year ago was Foxrock-Beechpark in south Co Dublin, with two households getting an average of €55.66 a month each.

The tool developed by the All Ireland Research Observatory (Airo) at NUI Maynooth, in partnership with Dublin City Council, will allow users to interrogate the geography of Dublin's housing infrastructure interactively. It includes over 700 maps that show changing patterns in the distribution of private and social housing, household size, and information on support to private renters.


Interactive map

Information about rent supplement has been mapped by electoral division for the first time. Users can click on individual areas across the four local authorities to find out how many households receive rent supplement, the average amount received and how much is spent by the State.

Airo has used census household data at electoral division and small-area level, from 2011, 2006, 2002 and 1991, as well as from rent supplement data from the Department of Social Protection.

Social housing needs

Those developing it plan to add housing data from local authorities and the Private Rented Tenancies Board, including data on housing standards, mortgages and registered rents charged.

The latter will be of huge interest to prospective tenants as well as to those interested in whether rent-supplement rates are in line with market rents.

The rent-supplement maps starkly illustrate where low-income households are concentrated as well as the large sums spent by the State on private-rented housing. The information is bound to heighten debate about the long-term economic wisdom of dependency on the private rented sector to meet social housing needs.

The accompanying map (left) gives a snapshot for September 2013. It shows 32,419 households got rent supplement in the region that month.

Most were in Dublin City (16,163), followed by Fingal (7,824), then South Dublin County Council (6,749) and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council with 1,683.

Some €6.5 million was spent that month in Dublin City on rent allowance; €4 million in Fingal; €3.6 million in South Dublin County Council and €835,000 in Dún Laoghaire.

The ED with the second highest spend that month was in Lucan-Esker, with €498,539.18 spent on 863 households.

Last year rent supplement nationally cost €372 million.

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland

Kitty Holland is Social Affairs Correspondent of The Irish Times