Record number households supported by Threshold in Q1

galway daily news 248 homeless adults in Galway last month

Housing charity Threshold supported 1,262 households to stay in their homes or secure alternative housing in the first quarter of this year, the highest number on record since the charity began publishing its quarterly impact reports in Q2 2021.

A total of 1,727 adults and 1,310 children were saved from homelessness between January and the end of March.

In Q1 2023, Threshold supported 9,256 households, including 12,181 adults and 8,036 children.

Advisors answered over 11,500 calls and responded to over 2,000 webchats from private renters facing challenges in their tenancy.

Of new clients who contacted Threshold in the first three months of the year, 2,041 were at risk of homelessness with a majority facing this prospect as a result of their landlord selling their home.

Commenting on the report, Threshold’s National Advocacy Manager Ann-Marie O’Reilly said it is “extremely worrying” to see record levels of households requiring immense levels of support in their tenancies in the first quarter of this year – particularly while an eviction ban was in place.

She said that the figures truly indicate the level of the crisis we are facing in Ireland.

“Threshold advisors are working tirelessly to support thousands of private renters. In the first quarter of the year, our advisors answered over 11,500 phone calls and responded to over 2,000 webchats, supporting renters with their tenancy,” said Ms O’Reilly.

“Threshold’s work is vital as thousands of renters face uncertainty in the coming months.”

Notices of Termination

Tenancy termination remains the largest concern for private renters in Q1 2023, with 37% of new clients having received a Notice of Termination from their landlord.

Over half of private renters who contacted Threshold in Q1 2023 reported issues related to the security of their tenancy.

Sale of property remains the most common reason landlords end a tenancy, however 41% of such notices were found to be invalid by Threshold advisors in Q1 2023.

Two in three notices citing the requirement of the home for use by the landlord or relatives were found invalid by advisors, while 75% of notices citing renovation as the reason for the notice were deemed invalid.

Threshold advisors assess each Notice of Termination in line with the Residential Tenancies Acts and when a notice is invalid, Threshold can help the renter stay in their home.

 Eviction Ban

Threshold, alongside other housing and homelessness organisations, previously engaged with the Government on the need for an extension to the eviction ban, proposing a number of measures as key actions to ease the pressure on the rental market and resolve aspects of the housing crisis.

  • An acceleration of the ‘purchase with tenant in situ’ scheme and an expansion of the scheme to include those in the cost rental income limits, which has been undertaken by Government.
  • Allocation of a balanced proportion of newly available social housing units, by Local Authorities, to long-term homeless households.
  • Setting of ambitious quarterly targets for Local Authorities to bring vacant homes back to the rental market.
  • Allocation of resources to the RTB to proactively engage with landlords who have issued notices of termination and to use data collated by the RTB to inform a strategy for the retention of landlords in the private rental sector.
  • Enact the Simon Bill, which has been proposed by the Simon Communities of Ireland aimed at increasing protection for those facing eviction and at risk of homelessness.

Ann-Marie O’Reilly added: “Following the Government’s decision to lift the eviction ban, we called for key recommendations to ease pressures in the private rental market.

“It is positive to see that the Government has put measures in place, such as expanding the “purchase with tenant in situ” scheme to those eligible for cost-rental housing.

“Cost-rental is an important tenure in bringing affordability to the housing sector and must be delivered at scale to be truly effective. Retaining small landlords in the private rental sector is one of many critical elements in addressing the housing crisis.

“While we welcome the Government’s consideration of tax breaks for small landlords in the upcoming Budget, it is essential that any tax breaks provided are in exchange for increased security of tenure. This is something that we have argued for previously.”