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Why Housing Information Sessions can be of Benefit to Your Staff


Expert analysis from John-Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive Officer at Threshold.

A happy worker is a productive worker. However, in the midst of a housing crisis, many employees are struggling to find affordable private rented accommodation or experiencing problems within their tenancy. 

Threshold has developed partnerships with companies to help employees by providing information sessions, one on one advice and support to workers who rent.

As a leading national organisation engaged in the provision of advice and advocacy for those renting primarily in the private rented sector,  we share a vision of an Ireland in which everyone has a right to secure, affordable housing, appropriate to people’s needs and located in sustainable communities, particularly those households experiencing problems of poverty and exclusion.

Since being established four decades ago, Threshold has had a major and growing role in assisting Ireland’s workforce - and their families - to navigate the private rented housing sector. Within the first two years of providing assistance to people renting, we dealt with approximately 3,000 cases. In the period January 2017 to the end of January 2019, Threshold received 156,170 calls from people experiencing difficulty in their private rented home. Of these calls, 40% were from tenants facing a tenancy termination – a statistic which points to the precarious nature of living within the private rented sector.

This sector has doubled in size over the past decade, with more than one in five households in Ireland renting from a private landlord, and an even higher proportion in urban centres. Demand will remain high for some time to come due to limited access to other housing tenures. 

The Central Statistics Office has projected that Ireland’s population will continue to grow until 2051 when it will reach almost 6.7m. A growing share of these people – your workers - will be housed in the private rented sector - and for longer periods of their lives.  Shortcomings in the private rented sector, such as high rents, lack of security of tenure and lack of available housing, threaten Ireland’s attractiveness as a place to invest and attract skilled labour. They pose major challenges in terms of salary expectations and of recruiting and retaining key people. These housing issues are currently impacting on our workforce and on the wellbeing of worker’s families. They will also adversely affect our future economic health unless further policies and measures are implemented to ensure rental affordability, tenure security and increased housing supply.

According to Aviva’s Family Finances Report renters are among the most stressed financially. In their 2017 survey, 1 in 3 of the respondents in the struggling category’ rented. That figure has risen to 41%, up 8 percentage points in just one year. As a leading national housing charity, Threshold is dealing with an ever increasing number of people who are ‘flat broke’, with workers who rent finding themselves struggling to afford spiralling rents and having to negotiate complex rental legislation. In recognition of the changing demands on our services, Threshold has developed partnerships with companies in order to jointly create unique workplace events to engage and inform staff about renting. 

These events are designed to assist employees in accessing the rented housing sector and to better understand their rights as tenants. Threshold also offers tailored advice and a service which protects tenancies that are at risk, which employees can avail of.  As I said at the outset, a happy worker is a productive worker, and any information and advice that can assist in relieving the stress around one’s housing needs can only be of benefit to the employee, their family, and the businesses they work in.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you wish to know to know more.

John-Mark McCafferty
Chief Executive Officer,Threshold