An Saoi: The Dept. of Social Protection (formerly Dept. of SFA) has finally announced the revised rent supports, effective from now until Secember 2011. It is unfortunate that An tAire Ó Cúiv did not publish the Report on which the revised figures are based. The Report was prepared from, “Information from the Private Residential Property Board databases; the CSO Rental Indices, in addition to the various rental market reports was utilised. Consultation with certain local Superintendent Community Welfare Officers also took place as part of the review.” It certainly would make interesting reading.
It has been suggested in the past (and the Minister made reference to it in interviews) that rent support had become a floor in the private rental market. Our friends in Daft do a comprehensive quarterly report of advertised rent levels, see for example their Quarter 1 2010 Report . Agreed rents may be slightly lower, but this does not devalue the importance of these reports.
I decided to do a comparison between the requested rents and the level of rent supports. In Table 1 the rents quoted are for a two bed unit and the level of rent support is the maximum available for a one child family (one or two parent). The Discrepancy is the percentage difference between requested rent levels and the revised support levels.
As can be seen the variation is quite considerable. It would also suggest that outside of urban Cork, Galway & Sligo, all of which have unusually high student populations, the level of rental support may be excessive and indeed acting to prevent rents falling.
In Table 2 the rents quoted are for a three bed unit and the level of rent support is the maximum available for a family with two children (one or two parent). Again, the Discrepancy is the percentage difference between requested rent levels and the revised support levels.
The pattern is somewhat similar with the discrepancies in the student dominated markets of Sligo Galway & Cork standing out. In general the discrepancies are less than those in Table 1.
The rents listed above are of course from the first quarter of 2010 and it will be the third quarter before the announced reductions have fed into the system. The reductions in rent supports are to be welcomed but leaving the current levels in place until 2012 seems excessive. A further review of rent support levels in six months could yield substantial further savings to the State.