Simon report finds no HAP properties to rent in Athlone

The nationwide crisis in the property rental market shows no signs of abating with the latest 'Locked Out of the Market' report from the Simon Community revealing that there are currently no affordable properties to rent in Athlone using HAP.

The report, which was compiled in September found only 392 properties to rent at any price within the 16 areas surveyed over three dates. However, none of these properties were available within a standard HAP rate with just 35 available within discretionary HAP rates. “This is the lowest number of properties and HAP properties ever recorded by the 'Locked Out of the Market' series” the report states.

The 392 properties available to rent represents a 61.5% decrease from the 1,017 available in September of last year, and a shocking 84.6% decrease over a two year period.

HAP properties available to rent outside of the Dublin area were found to be “worryingly low” according to the Simon report, with Athlone being highlighted as one of nine locations with no HAP properties available to rent in any household category within either standard or discretionary limits. Other areas mentioned include Galway city centre; Sligo town; Portlaoise and Waterford.

“If local authorities apply the maximum discretions available to them and put it in the context of the housing and homelessness crisis, in reality no properties are available to those trying to access privately rented homes to exit or avoid homelessness,” the report states.

The stark figures contained in the report has prompted the Simon Community to call on the Government to take action to tackle the 166,000 vacant homes throughout the country. “With increased funding and targeted action, we believe it is possible to bring in substantial numbers of vacant homes through a reformed Repair and Lease Scheme over the next 12 months” they state, adding that this move could help to reduce the reliance on the private rental system and keep vulnerable households out of homelessness.

While they acknowledge that the moratorium on evictions being considered by the Government is “an imperative” they state that urgent action is needed to increase the stock of affordable homes.