Housing costs | 

Tenants are spending 40pc of their wages on rent, new report reveals

Furthermore, the number of tenants on a reduced rent who are paying out a large chunk of their income on housing has more than doubled
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Stock photo

Melanie Finn

Nearly 10pc of renters, many of whom are on subsidised rates, are forking out more than 40pc of their disposable income on their accommodation costs.

Furthermore, the number of tenants on a reduced rent who are paying out a large chunk of their income on housing has more than doubled in recent years, going from 4.2pc in 2016 up to 9.4pc in 2019.

A report launched today, 'National Social Monitor - Ireland Social Scoreboard', has laid bare the huge burden that housing costs is placing on low-income families.

Dr Seán Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland (SJI) which published the report, described the increase in the housing cost for tenants renting at the lowest possible rate as "really concerning".

"This is even more worrying considering that many of these rents are subsidised," he said. "Yet the proportion of tenants in this situation has more than doubled since 2016."

For most households, housing costs - which include utility bills for services such as electricity and gas - are the main expenditure.

Those experiencing 'housing cost overburden' are likely to find themselves short of cash for other essentials such as food, clothing and transport.

SJI's research and policy analyst Susanne Rogers said falling into arrears is another area of concern.

"Arrears on mortgage, rent or utility bills is another indication that housing costs could be too high," she said.

While the EU average of households in arrears stands at around 8.6pc, it is nearly double that in Ireland, with a figure of 15.1pc experiencing financial difficulties in this country in 2020.

Another area highlighted in the report is the number of young people who are neither in education nor employment (NEET).

It found those with lower education levels are three times more at risk of entering the NEET category than those with post-secondary education. Only one in four early school leavers are in employment compared with the general population and just under half (47pc) are not economically active, the report found.

Median earnings for early school leavers was on average €65 less than their peers. This translates to around €345 a week, compared with €410.

On foot of its report, SJI has urged the implementation of its '10 Point Plan to deliver Housing for All' to ensure that everyone has access to affordable housing.

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