An acute shortage of rental accommodation has now extended out of Galway City and into the county, Galway West Independent TD Noel Grealish has revealed.
He said that an analysis of advertisements on the country’s leading property and rental accommodation website shows that rental prices have shot up throughout the county, and there is also a worrying shortage of places available.
“This time last year, my office did a detailed examination of the rental scene in the city and county, and a repeat of that exercise this year has uncovered the shocking situation facing people now.
“We found that on the website daft.ie in late-April last year, there was a total of 24 three-bedroomed rental properties available for rent for less than €750 a month around the county, excluding the city.
“But last week, there were only eight similar three-bedroomed apartments or homes for rent — and all of them were costing €750 or more a month,” said Deputy Grealish.
“We thought the situation was difficult enough last year for the families who would be in the market for this size of rental property, but at least then you had them available all over the county, in all the main towns and several villages as well.
“But now, according to the daft.ie website, where almost all properties for rent are advertised nowadays, availability of three-beds is limited to five in and around Athenry — ranging in price from €750 to €1,300 a month — and just one each in Ballinasloe, Loughrea and Ardrahan.
“It’s no surprise to anyone that the situation in the city is also grim for families and individuals seeking a place to live.
“This time last year there was a handful of three-beds available to rent in the city area for less than €1,000 a month but that’s a thing of the past obviously, with prices apparently up by several hundred euro a month.
“And, similar to the county area, the number of city properties that are available to rent has shrunk considerably from the situation that pertained twelve months ago.”
Deputy Grealish pointed out that while the limits placed on rent in order to qualify for Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) had been increased since last year, the allowable amounts in Galway were still below the actual rents being charged here.
“In the case, say of a couple or single parent with one child, €850 is the monthly limit in Galway city and county, going up to €900 a month for parents with three children.
“But the fact is you just can’t find a suitable place to live in for those amounts, so what is continuing to happen is that people are having to top up what they are getting from the state out of what can be very limited resources.
“There is allowance for flexibility of up to 20% to be applied, on a case-by-case basis, by local authorities where a household cannot find suitable accommodation within these limits and I would certainly hope that this is being done by the City and County Councils in Galway.
“With the latest Census figures showing how few houses have been built over the past five years, this all amounts to a depressing problem of a shortage of housing that will take years to fix, and it’s vital that the Government does everything possible to create conditions that will allow for more houses, both private and social housing, to be built and quickly,” added Deputy Grealish.