Threshold intervened to save almost 2,000 adults and children from being made homeless by invalid notices of termination, invalid rent increases and rent arrears in the last quarter of 2021, a 16% increase on the previous year.
The national housing charity intervened to prevent 905 households from losing their homes in Q4 of 2021, which included 1,250 adults and 735 children.
An additional 1,808 households were identified as at risk of homelessness by Threshold, an increase of 14% on the number at risk at the same time in 2020.
Figures from the Department of Housing show that overall, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Q4 2021 increased. Monthly homeless figures for November 2021 show an additional 259 households without dependents, 103 families and 204 children in emergency accommodation, compared to September 2021.
Threshold also responded to over 11,000 calls to their helpline in the last quarter of 2021.
Security of tenure
The most common queries that Threshold receives from private renters are those relating to security of tenure. Almost 1,800 renters contacted Threshold with questions about the security of their tenure, such as the validity of a notice of termination and what rights the private renter has when it comes to ending the tenancy.
The number of private renters seeking advice on their rights and how a tenancy can be ended remained high in 2021, on a similar level to queries received in 2020. This indicates the ongoing and heightened precarity experienced by private renters on foot of the pandemic, according to Threshold CEO, John Mark McCafferty.
“Threshold advisors found 53% of the rent reviews brought to them by private renters were invalid. This has been a trend throughout 2021 and highlights how important it is for private renters to contact Threshold when they receive a rent review to check its validity. This also reinforces Threshold’s call for a dwelling specific rent register, to allow renters verify that the rent increase is lawful,” he said.T
Termination for sale
Mr McCafferty said that a high number of landlords are issuing notices of termination for the purpose of sale, and this looks likely to continue in 2022 unless action is taken. He said the taxation system has a role to play in retaining small-scale landlords in the private rental sector, to protect the current private rental stock.
The number of private renters struggling with poor living standards or outstanding repairs in their homes is also on the increase. Between Q3 and Q4 2021, Threshold saw a 30% increase in those seeking assistance, mostly for problems with damp and mould, but also poor heating and structural deficiencies.
The number of cases involving poor living standards has increased beyond pre-pandemic levels, which Threshold says may be driven by delays in repairs being made during the most severe public health restrictions in 2020 and early 2021.
Threshold are calling for an NCT for housing to ensure private rental properties meet the minimum standards, and are safe, healthy and comfortable.