Renting in Ireland in 2021 is characterized by high levels of insecurity experienced by tenants. According to Independent.ie, a joint study was conducted between the University College Dublin and Maynooth University to explore the impact that the ban on evictions during the pandemic had on renters. Surprisingly, most renters in the study expressed that they found little comfort from the policy due to its temporary nature.
Pandemic Eviction Ban Explained
The pandemic eviction ban was first introduced by the Irish Government in April 2020. Since then, it has been extended four separate times to accommodate the length of the pandemic and the impact that it has had on citizens. This ban is viewed as one of the Government’s key pandemic-response initiatives, as it works to protect renters from the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, 80% of surveyed renters felt that the pandemic eviction ban did nothing to increase their sense of security with their current living situation. The ban did very little to improve feelings of insecurity among renters with 25% of tenants expressing how their current living situation does not feel like home, 40% of tenants feeling insecure in their living situation, and 20% of tenants having a poor relationship with the landlord of their property.
Similar studies and surveys that have been conducted have found very similar results. Despite the growing private rental industry, renters continue to face many challenges in their current living situation.
The Private Rental Sector
Current government housing policy and the present status of the private rental sector are not properly organized to support renting as a lifetime living option for citizens. This situation is occurring despite the growing reliance on renting due to issues with affordability when it comes to home ownership and the shortage in the supply of housing seen throughout Ireland.
The decreasing percentage of citizens achieving home ownership will likely cause problems in the future according to Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) chief executive Alan Barrett. Barrett explains that the model of home ownership assumes that by the time people retire, their mortgage will be paid off and they would have no rent to pay. Additionally, they would own a property that they could use for additional finances. However, the growing reliance on renting and decreased levels of home ownership conflicts with these assumptions.
Therefore, the model of renting that has characterized the private rental sector for so long is beginning to unravel. Insecurity in renting and challenges to home ownership need to be addressed to better accommodate the current reality of Irish citizens.