COVID-19 has left an indelible impression on the private rental market across the island, joint Threshold and ESRI conference to hear from industry experts

Online gathering of national experts to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on private renters and elaborate on options for the future of the sector. 

View slides from this event.

On Thursday 1 July, national housing charity Threshold and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) will co-host an online conference ‘The private rental sector in Ireland: through the pandemic and beyond’. The event takes place from 10:30 until 15:30 with a scheduled break for lunch. The conference gathers national experts to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the private rental sector and the future of renting on this island.

The morning session of the conference will see a keynote (‘The Private Rented Sector as part of the Global Housing system in a COVID-19 world’) from Christine Whitehead, Emeritus Professor of Housing Economics, London School of Economics. In 1991, Whitehead was awarded an OBE for her services to housing and is a leading global voice in this area. Joining the morning session will be speakers from the ESRI, Housing Rights NI and UCD’s School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. During this session, Threshold’s Policy Officer Ann-Marie O’Reilly will present findings from Threshold Annual Tenant Sentiment Survey 2021.

The afternoon session will examine the future of renting and the Irish Housing system. Aideen Hayden of Threshold will chair a panel comprising of Whitehead and representatives from Ó Cualann Cohousing Alliance, the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), Irish Institutional Property and UCD’s School of Social Policy, Social Work and Social Justice. These experts will also focus on what the future holds for renters and aspiring homeowners. Hayden points out that homeownerships rates have been falling now for more than a decade, “Many of those renting can’t get a mortgage. Even though they are working and on good incomes they tend to be in more precarious employment or the cost of housing is out of reach. We are asking why the costs are so high and do we need to change the system or will the new affordable purchase scheme make a difference. We are looking at what difference the significant growth of institutional investors in Ireland will make for renting here.” How Ireland compares internationally in relation to supply and affordability will be one of the many topics addressed during this panel.

Alan Barrett, Director of the ESRI, commented,

“It goes without saying that housing is a critical policy issue for Ireland. The ESRI has undertaken considerable policy-relevant research in this area over the past number of years and has also contributed to developing the data infrastructure through our work with the Residential Tenancies Board. This event with Threshold will focus discussion on the needs and challenges facing the private rental sector across Ireland. It is timely and much-needed. With a line-up of national and international experts, I know the conference will inform, in a very rich way, the on-going conversations on housing policy in Ireland”.