NATIONAL housing charity Threshold has carried out 4,357 actions in relation to 669 cases since it opened its Limerick outreach service just a year ago.
The most common issues raised by tenants in Limerick over the last year include tenancy terminations (22 per cent), advice on leases (12 per cent) and rent reviews (11 per cent). Six per cent of all cases in Limerick during the period related to rent arrears.
Between March 1 and May 21 of this year, cases from Limerick accounted for 4.5 per cent of all of Threshold’s arrears-related cases nationwide. Eight per cent of all 669 cases dealt with in Limerick related to clients who have suffered a loss of income due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The charity this week urged renters in Limerick to contact its housing advisors for advice and support.
“Despite the fact that we are unable to interact face-to-face with our clients in Limerick at the moment, we are acutely aware of the issues that families and individuals are facing and the complex nature of these problems, and we are still assisting tenants on a remote basis for now,” said Southern Regional Services Manager at Threshold, Edel Condon.
Some of the challenges faced by renters in Limerick are illustrated by the case of one of Threshold’s clients, Robert (name changed to protect identity).
In October 2019, Robert signed a 12-month, fixed-term lease on a property for himself, his partner and their 18-month old child. A month later, Robert’s landlady sent him a text message saying that she would need the property back by February 2020. Robert contacted Threshold who advised him that this was invalid: a Notice of Termination must be in writing and, moreover, Robert had a fixed-term lease with no break clause.
Ideally Threshold would have communicated this message to the landlady in writing; however, the landlady had refused to provide Robert with her address, a breach of her obligations. Threshold therefore called Robert’s landlady on his behalf; she stated that she needed the house back and that she had the right to terminate within the first six months of a tenancy without a reason.
Threshold outlined its position, stating that the fixed-term lease offers the tenant protection against early termination. The landlady then provided Robert with a Notice of Termination in writing, again invalid, due to the fixed-term lease. Threshold intervened again and ultimately ensured that this young family could remain in their home.
“Without Threshold’s intervention, families like Robert’s face a very real risk of being made homeless, in Limerick and across Ireland; and without the generous support of members of the public and the business community, our vital work in preventing homelessness would not be possible,” Ms Conlon explained.
Threshold’s helpline remains available Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm at 1800 454 454, and via its website at threshold.ie/advice/help for any renter in need of advice or support.