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Families in fear as over 2,000 call housing charity

THRESHOLD, the national housing charity, has received 2,050 calls in the last five months - 41pc of which were from families who were at risk of losing their homes.

Of the 857 families who were at risk, Threshold managed to keep a tenancy protected through advocacy in 200 cases, according to figures supplied to Dublin City Council.

There were 138 cases approved for what is called interim tenancy sustainment protocol, whereby the agency advocates on behalf of a tenant with the Department of Social Protection.

In other cases direct intervention with landlords has been successful, such as in cases where notice to exit a property given to a tenant was invalid.

"The direct intervention of the tenancy protection service in many cases is sufficient to protect a tenancy," the agency said.

Negotiate

"For example, a client has been given invalid notice of termination and Threshold uses the opportunity to negotiate with the landlord in order to have the threat of notice completely withdrawn.

"Where rent arrears are an issue, the Tenancy Protection Service (TPS) can negotiate a repayment plan with the landlord on the tenant's behalf."

There were a total of 309 cases that went only as far as an "initial intervention" from the agency - where clients were assessed as to whether they had an urgent case.

A total of 42 cases were referred to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).

Of these cases, 20 are awaiting a hearing, 13 cases have been heard and nine cases have been withdrawn.

In cases where a hearing has taken place, 54pc were in favour of the tenant.

In four cases relating to rent increases, the landlord reduced the amount sought.

"By taking a dispute case to the PRTB, the TPS can ensure that a client who has received invalid notice of termination is given the correct time to find alternative accommodation.

In total, 306 cases are ongoing. Last week it emerged that there were 398 homeless children sleeping in hotels in the city.

"It's a national disgrace," Lord Mayor Christy Burke, who requested the figures from Dublin City Council, said.

"The numbers in themselves show how it's a tsunami of homelessness," he added.

hnews@herald.ie


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