To ask the Minister for Social Protection the impact of rising rental properties in Dublin, as outlined by the recent survey carried out by a company referred to in the Minister’s Rent Limit Review Report in 2011, will have on the allowable rent rates for rent supplement; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Social Protection (Joan Burton T.D):
The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term support to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The overall aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are currently approximately 89,000 rent supplement recipients for which the Government has provided €436 million for the scheme in 2012.
The State plays a major role in the private rental market through the rent supplement scheme. As the Department currently funds approximately 30% of the private rented sector it is essential that State support for rents are kept under review and reflect current market conditions. Revised maximum rent limits came into force on 1 January 2012 and are in place until June 2013. The emphasis of the rent limit review was to ensure that maximum value for money for tenants and the taxpayer was achieved whilst at the same time ensuring that people on rent supplement are not priced out of the market for private rented accommodation.
Statistics are not available in relation to the number of rent supplement applications received for the past 3 years and to date in 2012 or the outcome of those applications. However, I am attaching a tabular statement showing the number of rent supplement claims awarded in each of the past 3 years and to date in 2012.
There are currently over 32,700 rent supplement recipients in Dublin representing approximately 37% of the total customer base showing that customers of the scheme are being accommodated. The Department will continue to monitor rent levels in Dublin and throughout the country but at this point I have no immediate plans to revise the existing rent limits.
Details of claims awarded from 2009 to 2012: