Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on information he has received in response to a Parliamentary Question that shows that Rent Supplement claims are up 15% since Covid-19 restrictions came into effect.
“Figures obtained from the Department of Social Protection indicate that there has been a 15% increase in the number of people submitting Rent Supplement claims since the Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March.
“The data shows that as of the 18th April there are 17,264 households in receipt of rent supplement payments – an increase of nearly 2,500 households since the 14th March.
“This rise in the number of claimants is worrying but not surprising given that research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that almost 40% of those working in the accommodation and food sector – which has been most affected by unemployment due to the pandemic – are renters.
“There are an additional 200,000 or so renters in other sectors that have seen significant job losses, and it is also important to note that job losses have impacted most significantly on those aged 18-24.
“Not enough has been done by the government to promote the availability of this payment for renters who are struggling at this time.
“It is likely that we are staring into a significant rent arrears crisis and more must be done to help renters avoid arrears where possible.
“We need to see an extension to the ban on evictions, notices to quit and rent increases for all tenants and licensees.
“We also need to see a real mortgage moratorium for landlords and a rent arrears debt resolution process.
“It is essential that renters are not left behind as we emerge from this crisis. A rent arrears debt burden must not be added to the high rent and lack of supply burden that renters are facing.”