Rita McKiernan Has Passed
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February 17, 2021


ress release from Professor Michael Byrne, School of Socialy Policy, Social Work and Social Justice, UCD, issued on Friday, February 19th 2021…

Are you renting in North Wicklow?

Dr. Michael Byrne from UCD is researching the experiences of renters during the Covid-19 pandemic. The research wants to understand how renters have been impacted by the pandemic and the problems they face.

This research will help understand the challenges faced by the private rental sector and will try to influence government policy to better protect renters.

To be part of the research all you need to do is take part in an anonymous interview (Zoom or phone call). To take part or find out more email michael.byrne@ucd.ie.

The proposed research project

This research project examines the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on the private rental sector in North Wicklow. Research from the ESRI and others have identified private tenants as a particularly vulnerable cohort as they are very strongly over-represented in sectors of the economy which have been hit hardest by the pandemic and related public health measures (e.g. retail, catering, entertainment). Moreover, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, affordability issues and risk of homelessness were both most acute in the private rental sector (see my report for Threshold to find out about my past research on this area).

This research explores two specific sets of issues:

1. Income and rent: How have tenants been impacted by changes in income? Issues include whether or not tenants have struggled to pay rent, negotiated the payment of rent with landlords or applied for a rent subsidy (e.g. Rent Supplement, HAP). This aspect of the research will also capture the extent to which Government measures (specifically the PUP and the widening of criteria for Rent Supplement eligibility) supported tenants who experienced a loss of income.

2. Security of tenure: During the majority of the pandemic tenancies in the private rental sector enjoyed additional protections, the so-called ‘eviction ban’. The research will investigate to what extent this measure delivered enhanced security for tenants. Relatedly, did the enhanced security of tenure enjoyed by tenants enable them to advocate for themselves more effectively, e.g. in negotiating rent with their landlords?

To conduct the research, I will need to recruit tenants in the North Wicklow area. I hope to conduct interviews (most likely via telephone or Zoom) with a wide variety of tenants from different income brackets and socio-economic backgrounds, in particular those who have experienced a loss of income.

Again, if you’d like to take part, you can email michael.byrne@ucd.ie for further details.