The Irish government has calculated that the top 20 earning landlords in the country get €5m in State rent subsidy between them
Some are clearly raking it in thanks to the Irish equivalent of housing benefit – individual payments ranged from €180,000 and €578,000 in 2012. One landlord received €578,000 from the State in the form of rent supplement payments last year.
Rent supplement costs the Irish State €400 million annually – and, as in the UK, is increasingly being regarded as a massive transfer public money to private landlords.
To ensure value for money for the taxpayer, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, has asked the Department fo Social Protection to set maximum rent limits.
But housing groups report that many tenants are being asked to pay “top-up” payments to landlords for rent that is above the maximum allowance limit. Housing charity Threshold says rent supplement reductions are causing homelessness.
Ireland’s economic woes has led to a surge in the number of people seeking rental supplements from the state – figures peaked at almost 100,000 between 2010 and 2011 and cost the state almost half a billion euro.