No HAP properties available in Limerick as housing crisis continues

Stock photo.

THERE were no HAP properties available to tenants in Limerick last month, according to a newly-released report.

The Simon Community’s quarterly Locked Out of the Market report showed that there were no properties available to HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) recipients in Limerick City Centre and Limerick City Suburbs.

Nationwide, there were just 38 properties available to people on HAP, which marked a modest increase of five properties since the last report in December 2023.

The report found that, over the three days the survey was carried out, there were just 1,180 properties of any price available to rent in the 16 areas studied.

Just three per cent of the properties studied nationwide were available on the HAP scheme.

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Dublin was the area with the most availability of HAP properties with 32 of the 38 total.

10 of the 16 areas surveyed had no HAP properties available, including Limerick City Centre, Limerick City Suburbs, Athlone, Cork City Centre, Galway City Centre, Galway City Suburbs, Leitrim, Sligo Town, Portlaoise, and Waterford City Centre.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Wayne Stanley, executive director of the Simon Communities of Ireland, said that the private rental market is still an important part of Ireland’s housing system.

“But what we’re seeing is for those on low income, who have availability to access the HAP payment, they’re having to top out, top up beyond what the local authority can provide them with from their own income,” Mr Stanley said.

“If they can secure them, are not sustainable because of the €100, €200, even €300 a month additionally, they’re having to pay they have to top up.”

Chairperson of the Irish Property Owners’ Association, Mary Conway, said that the Simon report highlights the fact that landlords are leaving the market in their droves.

“There is a pressing need for urgent action to address the regulatory and taxation challenges faced by landlords operating in the residential rental market,” she said.

“Unless some meaningful action is taken, the exodus of landlords will only threaten to exacerbate the housing crisis, leaving tenants with limited options while driving up rental prices.”