Should Rent Supplement be cut or raised?

Over at progressive-economy.ie Nat O’Connor has been crunching the numbers from the latest daft report

As noted previously, the Rent Supplement maximum payment will cover a significantly different proportion of average rents, depending on what part of the country you live in. So people in some areas are more likely to be squeezed into poorer accommodation and/or to make further top-up payments from their social welfare than are their equivalents in other areas, by the mere chance of what administrative area they live in.

I’m not sure I get this argument, is Nat suggesting that a portion of our rented accommodation is unsuitable (not good enough) for those who have their rents paid by working taxpayers, but is suitable for those who work and must pay their rents themselves? If rent allowance is raised, the result will be that those in receipt of social transfers will be able to out compete workers & taxpayers for the accommodation they desire.

According to the Daft report there are almost 25,000 properties available to rent on Daft.ie today. This compares with approxiametely 3,600 in March 2007 (according to daftwatch @ thepropertypin.com). Equally daftwatch shows that there are approxiametly 7,700 properties advertised as available to rent in Dublin, compared with just over 1,500 in March 2007. Some portion of the properties advertised on Daft are duplicates, and some are single adverts for multiple properties (e.g. new developments being rented out by developers unable to shift units). There are according to various sources between 10,000 and 16,000 unsold apartments in Dublin leaving an overhang of up to 40,000 empty apartments in the city. In addition, developers have even taken to renting out hotel rooms on a long term basis. Speaking to landlords locally, those willing to accept rental allowance tenants (and many who don’t) regard it as a floor price on the rents they are willing to accept. With a huge overhang in the market, it may in fact be keeping rents artificially high for everyone, to the benefit of landlords, but at taxpayers expense.

No bio, some books worth reading – The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves – Matt Ridley .

Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance -Nouriel Roubini, Stephen Mihm