TENANTS in Limerick are already beginning to panic as a result of the Government decision to lift the eviction ban at the end of the month.
That’s according to Limerick-based Aontú’s spokesperson on Housing, Sarah Beasley, who works closely with the homeless in the city.
Speaking to the Limerick Post, Ms Beasley said that she has already received considerably more phone calls from people on the verge of homelessness than normal.
“On April 1 hundreds, if not thousands, of evictions will fall due and emergency homeless services are saying that they are full. There’s a ticking time-bomb for all sorts of households and families and it is approaching detonation time,” she predicts.
“Our Thomas Street constituency office has been inundated with calls from countless people since the announcement that the eviction ban was to be rescinded.
“Data from the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) shows 4,741 notices to quit were issued by landlords in the three months leading up to when the eviction ban was announced on October 28 of last year. These will now come into effect once the ban is lifted in less than three weeks,” she added.
She described the housing situation in Limerick as an “absolute emergency”.
“Our homeless services are going to struggle to cope. The eviction ban was an exceptional measure, and we all knew it wasn’t going to last forever. However, it is clear that Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has not done adequate preparation in advance of lifting the ban.
“Minister O’Brien says he didn’t take the decision lightly, and appears to accept the fact that homelessness will increase as a consequence. The people about to be evicted have nowhere to go.
“Under Tusla rules if there are children with nowhere to go, they must be referred to a Garda Station for safety. Garda stations are not appropriate and have no facilities to house families.”
Ms Beasley says that Aontú have made proposals to help renters, including tax incentives for long-term rents, returning some of the 25,000 AirBnB rentals back to open rental market, as well as measures to speed up the construction of all types of accommodation.