New figures released by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) show that the number of notices of termination rose in the first quarter of this year, in advance of the lifting of the no-fault eviction ban on 1 April.

RTB figures show that 4,753 notices of termination were issued between 1 January and 31 March this year, up from 4,329 in the last quarter of 2022, - an increase of 424.

The eviction ban was in place between 30 October 2022 to 31 March this year.

The number of notices of termination issued in Q1 2023 is also up slightly, by 12, on the second quarter of 2022 when 4,741 were issued.

Landlords are required to send a copy of all Notices of Termination to the Residential Tenancies Board on the same day the notice is served on the tenant.

The top three reasons given by landlords for issuing notices of termination were that the landlord intended to sell the property (2,631), that there had been a breach of tenant obligations (885); and that a landlord or their family member intended to move into the property (861).

A landlord selling their property was the most common reason given in the last three quarters.

At the start of this year a breach of tenant obligations became the second most common reason given, ahead of a landlord or their family member moving back into the property, which had been the second most common reason given in quarters three and four of last year.

The figures also show that Dublin landlords issued 2,011 notices of termination to their tenants in the first quarter, an increase of 7% on the last quarter of 2022 (1,871) and 8.5% on the third quarter of last year (1,839).

Here again the main reasons behind the issuing of these notices were: the landlord intended to sell the property (1028); a breach of tenant obligations (418); and that the landlord of their family member intended to move in (389).

The most notices to quit were issued in counties Dublin, Cork (525) and Galway (251), where in excess of 250 such notices were recorded by the RTB in the first three months of this year.

Monaghan saw the fewest notices of termination recorded in this period, at 21.

It was one of seven counties to record fewer than 50. The others were Carlow (49), Offaly (43), Roscommon (43), Longford (38), Leitrim (32) and Cavan (34).

Increase in number of people at risk of homelessness, says charity

The past year has seen a 12% increase in the numbers of families at risk of homelessness who are using a charity's services, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

Threshold worked with 5,360 households who were at risk of homelessness in the first quarter of last year.

This year, that figure rose to over 6,000, its CEO John Mark McCafferty told the Joint Committee on Housing.

The many problems hampering the rental sector are "primarily due to the large increase in the number of landlords who are choosing to sell their property," he said.

Families - especially those with one parent - are most likely to enter homelessness and the vast majority who did so last year "had received a notice of termination from their landlord".

The charity has been contacted by more than 1,200 people who are facing eviction so far this year.

"At present, we are assisting over two and a half thousand households who have a valid notice of termination", he told the committee.

"So we need far more than 1,300 units planned under the Tenant in Situ scheme in Dublin."

Wayne Stanley, Executive Director, Simon Communities of Ireland, welcomed the Situ scheme but emphasied that it needs "sustained momentum".

Those tenants staying on in a rental propety after a valid notice of termination had expired has also risen dramatically, the committee heard.

Threshold had 475 clients who were "overholding" in the first quarter of 2023, a 57% increase on last year.

"Hidden homelessness" increased from 58 households in the first three months of last year to 68 this year, Mr McCafferty said.

These are peple forced to "couchsurf or sofa surf, staying with family and friends in what they hope is a temporary set-up while searching for a new home".

Home ownership should not be Taoiseach's priority - McVerry

A homeless campaigner has said he disagrees with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's belief that home ownership should be the priority when it comes to housing policy.

Fr Peter McVerry added that Mr Varadkar had made clear that those facing "extraordinary rents", those facing eviction and those who are homeless were not his priority.

In an interview with The Irish Times, published over the weekend, the Taoiseach said: "When it comes to housing policy, the thing that is most important to me - there are many different aspects of housing policy - but the thing that would be of highest priority to me is home ownership, is making sure that people are able to buy their own home ... because that's the best form of housing security in my view."

Speaking on RTÉ's Upfront with Katie Hannon, Fr McVerry said: "Clearly that's his priority, but I think he's saying it's not a great priority for me - those people who are renting and paying extraordinary rents, those people who are (the) 9,000 households who are facing eviction from their home, those homeless people who would love to have a social housing house to move into - clearly he is saying they are not the priority for him."

"They would be my priority," Fr McVerry added.

"This seems to me the old conservative ideology that has long since been discredited, if you help those at the top, benefits will trickle down to those at the bottom. That doesn't work.

"If the Taoiseach really wants to prioritise people owning their own homes, the one single measure he could do would be to implement the Kenny Report (published in 1973 that contained measures for controlling the price of building land)," Fr McVerry said.

"A third of the cost of a house usually, and sometimes more, is the cost of the land on which it is built, and that is due to land speculation.

"The Kenny Report cut out land speculation and recommended controlling the price of building land.

"A €450,000 house could come down to maybe €300,000 if the Kenny Report was implemented, but the Kenny Report, it's never even discussed at Government, it seems to be the elephant in the room that nobody wants to touch."

Additional reporting Míchéal Lehane