TENANTS facing eviction from their rented homes in Donegal face an uphill battle to secure alternative accommodation in the county, with estate agents reporting huge numbers of inquiries but few homes available to rent.
On Monday the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) updated their figures including those facing Notices to Terminate (NOTs) their tenancy – eviction orders – since the moratorium preventing evictions was ended on March 31.
There are now a total of 127 households in Donegal having to find alternative accommodation as the 88 eviction notices up until the end of September was increased by another 39 to the end of December 2022.
The main reason given by landlords countrywide for leaving the rental market is that they are selling their properties.
No county by county breakdown of the reasons given is available from the RTB.
Meanwhile estate agents in Donegal say they are inundated with people inquiring about homes to rent but there is very little available. Those agents the Donegal News spoke to this week only have residential properties available to rent in single numbers and the price is rising because of demand. A three-bed semi-detached house in the Letterkenny area when available is now costing €1,400 per month.
At Franklin’s Estate Agents they have just nine properties to rent. While Easy Let’s Paul Cosgrove said they currently had one with another expected to come on stream next week.
“We have the mica homeowners moving out to rebuild their houses and they need accommodation also while their homes are demolished and rebuilt,” Mr Cosgrove said.
Dermot McGettigan of McGettigan Letting Agents has just three homes on his books to rent.
“We have been getting a lot of inquiries. You have staff at various places including the hospital, Pramerica, Sita and many more who rent locally. We always have nurses looking for accommodation,” Mr McGettigan said.
At Premier Letting it is a similar story from a number of weeks ago where there were just a few houses to rent.
“We have landlords saying they want to sell and that means more evictions coming down the track. Demand is ten times what is out there. It is difficult. People come in looking to rent and you know you have nothing to offer them,” Premier owner Mr Gerry Gannon said.
Noel Daly of the North West Simon Community echoed these comments and said there are tenants who are nervously waiting for their eviction notice to arrive as their landlord intends to sell the property.
“There is a phenomenal amount of landlords out there who are leaving the market and people are now wondering when they will receive their notice,” he said.
“If you take it from the start, the Government has planned to build 35,000 houses a year and if you believe that and you are a landlord, now is the time to sell.
“It make sense that if the government builds all the houses that is planned, then the value of houses will start to decrease so the landlords are looking to get out of the market so more people will be receiving these notices.
“The evictions that were covered by the ban related to people who are selling their houses but if the government could guarantee that the house would be sold at the same price next year, and the landlord would not be at a loss then the family could stay there until the situation improved,” said Mr Daly.
However, with more notices on the way, Mr Daly said there is no emergency accommodation available for these people and nowhere for them to go.
“The reality is that there is no accommodation for these people.
“The evictions have become the focus of the discussion but the reality is that there is no available accommodation in the state.
“This problem is only going to get worse and the Government seems to have abandoned the idea of sorting the problem.
“They announced a number of measures at the start of March which included trying to innovate vacant houses, purchase more social houses and the cost rental scheme but they don’t have the resources in place to implement this.
“There are 1,600 houses in the north west that are vacant and they have appointed three people to bring these homes into use, but three people cannot be expected to do this.
“Unfortunately we are also seeing an increase in hidden homeless.
“People are sofa surfing and staying with family members or friends but they are not part of the statistics so the problem is much bigger than it seems,” said Mr Daly.