Minister O’Brien welcomes Research Paper on Private Rental Sector during Pandemic

-Research examines impact of the pandemic on affordability and missed rental payments in the private rental sector-

-Research finds that rental affordability pressures unlikely to have worsened overall during the March to June period-

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien has today (28 July, 2020) welcomed research which examines the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on affordability and rental arrears in the private rental sector.

The paper has been published under a research programme which the Department operates with the Economic and Social Research Institute.

It finds that in the very short run (between mid-March to mid-June 2020), the unique and extraordinary circumstances of the current situation mean affordability pressures are not likely to have worsened overall. This is because short-run changes to expenditure and consumption, mainly resulting from public health restrictions, are likely to have outweighed the decline in incomes. The research also suggests a very marginal rise in missed rental payments, based on the statistical model used in the paper.

Commenting on its publication the Minister said, “It is crucial that we understand the financial pressures which renting households must contend with. I welcome the paper’s findings, which show that the measures taken to protect tenants and the wider economy are likely to have been effective. However, as the economic and public health circumstances change we must work to ensure policy measures are agile, proportionate and effective.

“Housing policy requires a well-informed understanding of the actual conditions faced by renting households. The insights provided by this research will guide policy, in particular the further measures I will take to regulate the private rental sector, and to protect tenants and residential landlords alike from the challenges associated with the pandemic and ensuing economic shock. These measures will combine targeting those who are most vulnerable with longer term measures to address rent arrears.

“I urge households experiencing difficulties making rental payments as a result of the pandemic to apply for Rent Supplement and I will stress that this Government is committed to improving the standards, security and affordability for all renters,” he concluded.

The research paper entitled “Exploring the Short-Run Implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Affordability in the Irish Private Rental Market” is a product of a collaborative research programme operated by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, Local Authorities and the Economic and Research institute.

The research paper is available here