The housing crisis continues to deepen and to impact on many people across the country. The annual report from Threshold published today makes for depressing reading and illustrates how existing Government policies and initiatives have failed, particularly in relation to security of tenure, substandard accommodation and ongoing homelessness. Threshold has seen a dramatic rise in the number of calls it received from tenants in danger of losing their homes because their landlords claim they are selling their house or must have a deep refurbishment of their house. In 2017, 32% of calls were from renters who had been told their tenancies were coming to an end, up from 18% in 2016. That should be no surprise to Members of this House because every week people are coming into our clinics with letters from legal people and landlords stating the landlord swears he or she is refurbishing the house and will have to evict the tenant or that he or she is selling the house. The crisis in this specific area has been going on for the past two years. To date in 2018, the percentage of calls to Threshold related to notices of termination has increased to 40%. We are all experiencing that.
This is in the context of 73,000 calls to Threshold. Unaffordable rent is a huge issue, as is the sale of rental properties, leading to the hidden homeless and many tenants going back to their mothers. Across this city and the country, it is now commonplace for multiple families to live in a house because of this pattern of evictions. The rent pressure zones have not worked. Despite the 4% cap, rents in Dublin increased by more than 10% last year. As a result, tenants are being evicted into homelessness and the sale or refurbishment of the property is being used to circumvent the rent pressure zone. Threshold and others have called for a strengthening of the legislation to remove these loopholes and for an open register so that people can see transparently the rents that are being levied across the country. When will the Government introduce legislation to give effect to the proposals and recommendations of Threshold?
I recalled earlier the hidden homeless phenomenon. I do not know whether the Taoiseach listened to the "This Week" programme on RTÉ on Sunday last where there was an interview with a young mother, Ms Maria Dunne, who is currently living in her mother's house in Rossfield estate in Tallaght. She has five children and described how she would be homeless unless her mother had given up a room in her home to accommodate them. She described how she and her five children, one of whom is a small baby, were in one room and that her sisters, who also have children, live in the house as well. There are 12 people living in that house. She spoke calmly and eloquently about the practical and emotional pressures her family are under. Maria's story is one that perhaps most Deputies have heard from different people in different clinics and it derives from the central problem that has been identified by Threshold in its annual report. When can we expect the legislation to eradicate these loopholes that are being exploited?