More than 4,700 notices to quit were issued to tenants in the first quarter of this year, with more than half being served due to a landlord’s intention to sell the property, according to new figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
The latest data comes following the termination of the moratorium on evictions in March, which housing and homeless campaigners said would lead to an increase in homelessness.
Homelessness reached a new record last month, when 12,259 accessed emergency accommodation, including more than 3,500 children.
Figures published by the RTB on Tuesday showed that a total of 4,753 notices to quit were issued to tenants between January and March 2023, up from the 4,329 issued in the last quarter of 2022, and 4,741 in the third quarter of that year.
New legislation came into effect in July 2022 requiring landlords to send a copy of all notices to the RTB on the same day the notice is served on the tenant, which may skew the figures when compared with the previous year.
Of the notices issued last quarter, a total of 2,631 were issued because a landlord intended to sell the property, representing 55 per cent of the total. A further 861 notices were because a landlord or a landlord’s family member intended to move into the property, representing 18 per cent.
A total of 885 notices were issued because of a breach of tenants’ obligations.
Mike Allen, director of advocacy at Focus Ireland, described the continued rise of intended evictions as “highly worrying”.
“The safety net of the tenant-in-situ scheme introduced at the end of the eviction ban, and the Government’s target of purchasing 1,500 properties with the tenant in the property this year, will likely not come close to the real need of the number of households losing their homes because their landlords [are] choosing to sell unless changes are made now,” Mr Allen said.
“Of course, not all households facing eviction will qualify for the tenant-in-situ scheme, but clearly this scheme needs to be ramped up and local authorities should be provided with the capacity and resources to purchase as many of these properties as possible.”
Eoin Ó Broin, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman, described the latest figures as “alarming” and called on the Government to reinstate the ban on no-fault evictions.
The Government has faced sustained criticism in recent months after it decided not to extend the ban on so-called “no-fault” evictions beyond March 31st, which it put in place on October 30th last due to a severe shortage of accommodation as winter approached.
“The primary cause of this appalling level of homelessness is a collapse in the number of homeless preventions and exits from emergency accommodation,” he said.
“With the number of evictions notices being issued at such a high rate, there is little doubt that without an emergency intervention by Government, the numbers in emergency accommodation are going to continue to rise.”