The four Dublin Local Authorities and Threshold today (May 23rd) officially launched the public awareness campaign for the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) which encourages people to contact the service when their tenancy is at risk. Since the launch of the service in June 2014, a total of 3,160 households had their tenancy protected. The TPS is operating against the backdrop of a significant increase in families and individuals contacting local authorities and homeless services for emergency accommodation, primarily due to the loss of their homes in the private rented sector.
Preventing homelessness in the first instance and supporting people to retain their homes is one of the main priorities of central government, statutory services and state-funded homeless services.
Speaking at the photocall of the public awareness campaign, Eileen Gleeson, Director, Dublin Region Homeless Executive said “We strongly encourage families and individuals who are renting and may be worried about losing their home to contact the Tenancy Protection Service on FREEPHONE 1800 454 454. This service has been instrumental in preventing homelessness in the first instance and supporting people to remain in their homes.
Families or individuals at risk are assessed immediately on the grounds that they have received notice of arrears, notice of termination, warning letter, letter of rent increase, or have been threatened with an illegal eviction.”
Since the service was launched in June 2014, over 10,710 households have contacted the Tenancy Protection Service. Out of this, 5,078 (47%) were seeking advice to their rights and 5,632 (52%) households were “at risk” of tenancy loss. The breakdown and interventions for households who were at immediate risk of losing their tenancy were as follows;
- A total of 3,160 tenancies that were “at risk” were protected by Department of Social Protection (DSP) uplift in payment, advocacy assistance or were re-housed in the private rented sector,
- A total of 1,010 cases were closed (no longer contactable),
- A further 443 cases involved initial intervention and 886 are on-going,
- 93 cases were referred to the Residential Tenancies Board,
- 40 households entered homeless services.
The overall number of tenancies contacting Threshold dropped from 4,604 in 2015 to 2,391 in 2016, but the number of tenancies that were deemed to be at risk of homelessness increased to 60% in 2016 compared with 53% in 2015. Therefore, people using the service were more likely to need support.
38% of those who contacted Threshold in 2016 had their tenancy protected, with most receiving the DSP rent uplift (TPS can apply to the Department of Social Protection for an uplift payment above existing rent caps where a household is in receipt of rent supplement and are at risk of homelessness due to a rent increase). While the number of new contacts had decreased in 2016, Threshold continues to work with many of the families who had contacted them in 2015 and 2014.
Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government said “The Tenancy Protection Service has prevented thousands of households from entering homelessness and the more people we can alert to the provision of the FREEPHONE the better. I would encourage anyone who is concerned about their current tenancy arrangements to make contact with the service.”
The Tenancy Protection Service can be contacted through FREEPHONE 1800 454 454 in Dublin from 9 am to 9 pm and callers will receive the following prompt interventions if they are at risk of losing their home:
- Immediate guidance about rights as tenants and landlord obligations
- Negotiation between tenant and landlord to resolve problems and take further action if needed, including referral to the Residential Tenancies Board.
- For rent supplement customers, an application of uplift in payment can be made to the Department of Social Protection for families/couples or individuals, who are facing a rent increase and who are at risk of becoming homeless.