A new group has started in the Clondalkin area aiming to draw attention to the new rent thresholds that are leaving some families and single people on the brink of homelessness. The new rent thresholds were introduced in the last budget aiming to cut the Department of Social Protection annual rent supplement to private landlords by €22 Million.
This year’s budget forced claimants to pay €30 a week towards rent in private accommodation. But few noticed that the Department of Social Protection had also established new maximum rent caps.
If you live in the Dublin area, for example, the maximum rent you are allowed is €475 a month for a single person. Once you deduct your own contribution of €120 a month, the social welfare will only provide you with €355 a month. In Clondalkin for example the maximum amount a single person can get is €161 from the community welfare officer.
Describing the new requirements as pushing people to the housing edge, People before Profit Councillor Gino Kenny said “These new rent supplement caps are making it harder and harder for people to stay in their existing houses. In recent weeks social welfare recipients have received review letters telling them to supply information on accommodation. If their rent is above the maximum, they will be told to leave their accommodation because social welfare will no longer pay any supplement.”
“The rent supplement which people receive is getting lower and lower each year, while real rents haven’t come down to the percentages that people are loosing in rent supplement. If the tenant can’t negotiate a new rent agreement with the landlord the tenant has thirteen weeks to find cheaper accommodation. This is having a terrible effect on people that have the treat of moving or even worse face homelessness hanging over their heads.”
“The Government spend an incredible €500 Million to private landlords each year, this is an astonishing figure when you think how many houses you could build to house people in decent affordable dwelling that they can call their own. We now want to highlight the effects of the new rent supplement caps but also the conditions that some people find themselves in while the HSE is paying obscene amounts to the landlords”