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CITY TRIBUNE

Exodus of landlords from Galway City rental sector

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From the Galway City Tribune – There has been an exodus of landlords from Galway City’s rental market, which is pushing people into homelessness, Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath has warned.

Mr McGrath said that despite high rents, single-property landlords were selling-up to cash in on the high market values available currently for homes for sale.

He said this was pushing tenants to find properties to rent at higher prices, or face becoming homeless.

In an update to city councillors, Mr McGrath said that some 2,000 private landlords were leaving the rental market in Ireland every year. And half of them are issuing Notices of Termination because they are selling their property.

“This is ultimately driving many tenants into homelessness,” he said.

“The exodus of private landlords from the rental sector is being mirrored in Galway City with the latest figures showing that 37% of Notices of Termination issued to date in 2022 are for the purposes of sale with the consequent further depletion of private rented stock,” Mr McGrath warned.

He said that the vast majority of landlords (86%), own one or two properties.

Although Galway is in a Rent Pressure Zone, which protects tenants against excessive rent increases, he said this was having a negative knock-on effect.

“One of the negative unintended consequences of the rent pressure zone regulations is the unequal treatment between private landlords within Rent Pressure Zones such as Galway City. Where properties are on a first rental and in cases where properties have not been rented for a two-year period, landlords are free to charge market rent.

“Other private landlords in the same area who did not increase their rents to market level before the RPZ regulations took effect are currently confined to a maximum of 2% rental increase annually at present which has resulted in their properties being devalued.

“This can force many affected landlords to end tenancies and gain vacant possession so that they can achieve market value by selling the property to an owner-occupier. The tenant then must find another property at much higher rent or face becoming homeless,” Mr McGrath said.

He said the “problems of rental inflation and affordability challenges coupled with severe shortages of supply in the private rented market” in the city was reflected in the social rented sector too.

Mr McGrath warned that private landlords are exiting the RAS and leasing schemes and people who have qualified for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) supports “are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain private rented accommodation in the city”.

He said that the number of Notices to Quit in HAP had “significantly increased” and there were 77 in the first three months of this year alone.

“In order to preserve the stock of private rented properties, a review of the taxation regime and the RPZ regulations in the private rented sector is required,” Mr McGrath added.

His analysis echoes that of a number of local housing charities and reports from independent agencies such as Daft.ie which have documented turmoil in the local housing market for buyers and renters.

Meanwhile, almost 100 tenants in private rented properties in the county have been issued with notices to quit so far this year – because private landlords are either leaving the market or hiking the rents.

And that number is set to increase – leaving dozens of families with a headache to find alternative accommodation.

Chief Executive of Galway County Council, Jim Cullen, confirmed that validated Notices to Quit have been issued to tenants in private accommodation.

It is understood that these tenants had been on the County Council’s housing waiting list and had secured accommodation in the private sector – but many owners of these properties want out of the rental market.

“These Notices to Quit are increasing significantly as landlords leave the market or seek higher rents that the Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) cannot compete with,” Mr Cullen confirmed.

Housing Assistance Payments is a support provided by the local authority on a monthly basis to landlords, while tenants who qualify for HAP make a contribution towards the rent based on their household income.

CITY TRIBUNE

24/7 Garda surveillance on feuding Galway families

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Specialist Garda units have been maintaining round-the-clock surveillance over the past week in different parts of the city in an effort to keep the lid on a vicious ongoing feud between two families.

The feud, which resulted in a number of houses being firebombed and a gunshot being fired into a doorway earlier this month, is still simmering but Gardaí have put in place a ‘watch and follow’ strategy in relation to gang members.

Gardaí have also confirmed that they are pursuing a number of lines of inquiry into what they regard as the most serious of the incidents which occurred in the latest outbreak of the feud.

That involved a shooting incident on the Wednesday night of June 15, when a gunman fired a shot into the door of a house in the Bohermore area at around 10.30pm – he is believed to have initially making his getaway on foot before being picked up in a waiting car in the Forster Court area.

Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins, who is heading up the investigation into the series of incidents, said that . . . .
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the July 1 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Highwire performers to stage Claddagh spectacular

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s a skill known as funambulism – highwire or tightrope walking – and later this month it seems set to draw huge outdoor crowds to the Claddagh Basin.

Staged on seven highwires spanning the River Corrib, south of Wolfe Tone Bridge, the performances on July 16/17 (Saturday/Sunday), will feature a cast of 150 people from all ages and backgrounds.

Entitled ‘LifeLine’, this spectacular event is being produced and presented by the Galway Community Circus group and will be one of the highlights of the upcoming Arts Festival.

Originally, ‘LifeLine’ had been pencilled in as part of the Galway European Capital of Culture 2020 events, before being scuppered by the Covid pandemic.

The highwire event also has a more serious undertone, in its promotion of the importance of mental health wellbeing at a location renowned for its beauty – but also for many personal human tragedies.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the July 1 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Knives, live ammunition and drugs seized in Knocknacarra

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Knives, live shotgun cartridges and over €10,000 worth of drugs were seized by Gardaí in an operation earlier this week in the Knocknacarra area.

Four young males – who were acting suspiciously in the Lios Mór area at Cappagh Park on Tuesday evening last at around 7pm – were approached by a Garda unit and searched.

During the search, Gardaí found a quantity of cocaine on one of the men, while nearby they also seized a number of offensive weapons including knives.

All four were detained for questioning by Gardaí after being taken to Garda HQ in Murrough, Renmore and in a follow-up search at a house in Knocknacarra, €10,000 worth of cannabis was discovered as well as three live shotgun cartridges.

One of the men – aged in his early 20s – is . . . .
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see the July 1 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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