Limerick renters need Government support following eviction letters

Sinn Féin Councillor Sharon Benson

SINN Féin councillor Sharon Benson has called on the Government to step up to the plate and assist Limerick’s struggling renters. 

The City North representative made her comments following calls from a number of Limerick renters who have recently been presented with Notice to Quit letters.

Recent RTB figures show that between April and June there were 5,735 Notice To Quit letters issued to tenants, with 3,663 of these notices issued on the grounds of sale.

“When the Government ended the no fault eviction ban, we warned this would be the case. They did not take notice and nor did they prepare for this tsunami of evictions. They announced a tenant-in-situ scheme but have not provided necessary staffing to the local councils to support this objective. On housing, this government and this housing minister have failed, failed, and failed again,” Cllr Benson declared.

“This government has failed renters and it has failed young people. The important life moments, such as leaving the family home, living with a partner, and experiencing independent living are suspended in perpetuity. It is high time that the government admit their error and re-introduce the no fault eviction ban and increase the building of social and affordable housing.”

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According to Cllr Benson, renters in Limerick are faced with a trident of challenges including rising rents, the high cost of living, and the prospect of facing evictions.

The recent report demonstrates just how much renters are struggling in Limerick, Cllr Benson believes.

According to the report, Limerick has seen an 11.5 per cent rise in rents over this past year, with the average Limerick City rental costing €1,738 per month. The cost of rent has risen 5.7 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2023.

“These rental prices are not sustainable, and it comes as no surprise that Eurostat figures show that 68 per cent of young adults (25 to 29 years) are still living with their parents. This is massively above the EU average of 42 per cent and highlights the failure of this governments approach to housing,” she told the Limerick Post.

Those who have ambitions to purchase a property, Ms Benson continued, are faced with the insurmountable challenge of paying extortionate rent while trying to save for a mortgage deposit.

Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan stressed the importance of the right type of housing supply to help end homelessness and ease the housing crisis in society.

“The only long-term solution to ending homelessness in Ireland is a rapid build programme of new social and affordable housing, with allocations to the homes used to drive down homelessness. The reason that our current homelessness and housing crisis exists is because the building of new build social housing ground to a near halt during the austerity years following the Global Financial Crisis,” he said.

Focus Ireland believes the current housing targets – which have not been met – need to be increased to meet the scale of the crisis. The homelessness organisation also says it is vital that the building programme delivers the type of homes required, which is a good mix of social, rental, and purchase which is affordable for families and individuals.

“The new housing supply is not having any impact on the level of homelessness, it is still rising. This is because there are no vacancies in the private rental sector and government is not using the new social housing supply to drive down homelessness. People who are long-term homeless are too often at the back of the queue and policies are needed to give them a fairer share of the homes that become available,” he concluded.