Friday, February 24, 2023

By Keith Bourke

Mayo families trapped in a spiral of escalating rental costs are being forced to choose between food, fuel, and rent, a Housing Committee meeting was told.

Gerri Joyce, Senior Staff Officer with Mayo Co Council, delivered a presentation on the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS), Short-Term Letting (STL) and Housing Assistance Payment Scheme (HAP) to the council’s Housing Strategic Policy Committee. She outlined a number of serious issues that are hindering those in need of accommodation.

Ms Joyce said the availability of properties is the ‘biggest challenge’, adding that tenants are being charged exorbitant rents that they are simply unable to pay.

“Rents are gone sky-high,” said Ms Joyce. “Families are having to make the choice, do we have food, do we have fuel, or do we pay the rent.”

The council has also seen a rise in last-minute termination notices. In many cases, these last-minute notices are invalid.

Simon Shevlin, the council’s Head of Housing, said even if people qualify for HAP and RAS it is proving ‘very difficult’ to find accommodation for them.

Rental costs in Mayo surged by more than 21% during the final three months of 2022.

The average rent in the county now stands at €1,108. That’s up a massive 114% from the lowest point of the market, according to the latest rental report from The ongoing increase in the cost of renting accommodation is being driven by the continuing shrinking of the number of properties being offered for rent.

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