One third of no­tices to ten­ants were from land­lords sell­ing up

The Corkman - - NEWS - BILL BROWNE

THE hous­ing char­ity Thresh­old has re­vealed that the num­ber of calls it re­ceived from con­cerned ten­ants re­lat­ing to no­tices of ter­mi­na­tion across Cork more than dou­bled over the course of last year.

Fig­ures con­tained within Thresh­old’s an­nual re­port for 2017 showed that a sur­vey un­der­taken by their Cork of­fice showed that al­most one third of no­tices of ter­mi­na­tion were is­sued by land­lords sell­ing their prop­er­ties.

Thresh­old’s south­ern re­gional ser­vices man­ager Edel Con­lon said that while they wel­comed the move to ex­tend Rent Pres­sure Zones (RPZ) be­yond Cork city to in­clude places such as Ballincol­lig “we con­tinue to wit­ness mis­use of this leg­is­la­tion”.

“A sur­vey con­ducted by the Cork of­fice in 2017 re­vealed that more than 30 per cent of no­tices is­sued were due to land­lords sell­ing their prop­er­ties. How­ever, in some in­stances, ten­ants re­ported that the prop­er­ties were never sold and were put back on the rental mar­ket as a rent sub­stan­tially higher than the four per cent RPZ cap,” said Ms Con­lon.

“This sit­u­a­tion was em­pha­sised by the num­ber of calls to the Cork of­fice in re­la­tion to rent in­creases al­most tripling from Q1 2016 to Q1 2017,” she added.

Ms Con­lon went on to say the stan­dard of ac­com­mo­da­tion ten­ants were forced to live in “con­tin­ued to be a ma­jor con­cern” in Cork through­out 2017. She said Thresh­old con­tin­ued to field calls from ten­ants who were afraid to re­port their sub-stan­dard ac­com­mo­da­tion due to “the risk of be­ing is­sued with a no­tice of ter­mi­na­tion and be­ing made home­less”.

The Thresh­old re­port said they had dealt with a high num­ber of queries in re­la­tion to Hous­ing As­sis­tance Pay­ment (HAP). Of par­tic­u­lar con­cerns were de­lays in pro­cess­ing HAP, which the char­ity said re­sulted in some ten­ants fall­ing into debt and hav­ing to ap­proach char­i­ta­ble or­gan­i­sa­tions for sup­port with food.

On a more pos­i­tive note, Ms Con­lon said that Thresh­old’s Cork Ac­cess Hous­ing Unit (AHU) has sup­ported some 42 house­holds to move out of home­lessnes and n to homes dur­ing 2017.

The char­ity also worked closely with Cork City coun­cil, ad­vo­cat­ing on be­half of house­holds in an ef­fort to se­cure them other so­cial hous­ing op­tions.

“In ad­di­tion the AHU pro­vided ten­ancy sus­tain­ment to ser­vice to 48 house­holds, sup­port­ing them from home­less ac­com­mo­da­tion into in­de­pen­dent liv­ing as well as help­ing those in long-term hous­ing who re­quire help with sus­tain­ing their te­nan­cies,” said Ms Con­lon.

Na­tion­ally, the re­port showed ten­ancy ter­mi­na­tions, rent re­views/in­creases, stan­dards and re­pairs and de­posit re­ten­tion were the main is­sues of con­cern aired to them dur­ing 2017.

The char­ity es­ti­mated that it saved the State in the re­gion of €3 mil­lion dur­ing 2017 through its pro­vi­sion of sup­ports and ser­vices for those at im­mi­nent risk of home­less­ness.

“Through pro­vid­ing ad­vo­cacy, ad­vice Res­i­den­tial Ten­ancy Board rep­re­sen­ta­tion and our Ten­ancy Pro­tec­tion Ser­vice, Thresh­old helped an av­er­age of 364 house­holds a month to stay in their homes last year,” said Thresh­old chair Ai­dan Hay­den.

“It must be re­mem­bered that there are not just sta­tis­tics, there are real peo­ple... ad­e­quate ser­vices and pro­ce­dures must be put in place to pro­tect them. It is fair to say that with­out our vi­tal in­ter­ven­tion, the home­less fig­ures would be much higher.”

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