Number of homes available to rent under HAP scheme limits at lowest level on record

Only 27 homes were last month available to rent within the limits of the State’s housing assistance payment (HAP) scheme, out of more than 900 rental properties assessed by homelessness charity Simon.

The Simon Communities of Ireland’s quarterly Locked Out of the Market report found a decrease in the number of properties advertised with rents at or below qualification for the HAP housing benefit, down from 33 in June of this year.

This represents the lowest number of properties available under HAP since the charity began its assessment of the scheme’s performance in June 2015.

The study of 16 areas, representing a geographical spread across the State, found a total of 901 properties to rent at any price over the three dates surveyed in September. Half of the 16 areas had no HAP properties available to rent within standard or higher “discretionary” limits. These were Cork city centre, Cork city suburbs, Galway city suburbs, Co Leitrim, Limerick city suburbs, Limerick city centre, Sligo town and Portlaoise.

The supply of properties within HAP limits are predominantly available in Dublin, where local authorities have discretion to increase the rents paid by 50 per cent, compared to 35 per cent for the rest of the State. Of the properties available within HAP limits in September, 16 were found in the three Dublin areas examined – Dublin city centre, Dublin city north and Dublin city south.

Of the 901 properties to rent at any price, three-quarters were in these Dublin areas. Sligo had the lowest number of homes for rent with just three properties available over the three days. Portlaoise had six properties available during the study period.

Nine of the 16 areas experienced a decrease in the availability of properties

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