Sunday 25 June 2017

We got a €300 monthly rent hike because we were ‘good tenants’, says Amy Molloy

How can rent rises be modest when prices are already extortionate?

Amy Molloy, who says the 4pc rent cap proposed by the Housing Minister is not going to solve the problem. Photo: Tom Burke
Amy Molloy, who says the 4pc rent cap proposed by the Housing Minister is not going to solve the problem. Photo: Tom Burke
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

Housing Minister Simon Coveney stated on Wednesday that a 4pc cap on rent hikes was a very "modest margin".

But how can it be 'modest' when it's giving landlords the option to increase something that is already extortionate?

As someone who has been renting accommodation in Dublin for seven years, I have gone from paying €300 per month in 2009, to over €500 in 2016.

In most walks of life, the price tag usually reflects the quality of the product.

You don't see Penneys charging €80 for a coat which is only worth €25.

Substandard

However, when it comes to the Irish rental market, it's acceptable to charge €500 for a single room in a property which is damp and substandard.

When plans for the two-year rent freeze were announced last year, it sent landlords into a price hike frenzy.

Yet it was declared a significant step in tackling Ireland's rental crisis.

The 4pc cap on rent increases proposed by the Housing Minister isn't going to solve this problem.

People are still going to be living in dumps, and paying over-the-top prices to do so.

In recent years, I rented a property in Santry for €475. As the end of our tenancy approached, our landlord believed we would renew our lease.

Read more: Fianna Fáil refuse to back Coveney’s rent strategy creating crisis for Government

We received an email from the estate agents notifying us that the landlord would be increasing the rent for this three-bed property from €1,425 per month up to as much as €1,925.

But then it added that because we were "good tenants", he would only hike it up to €1,725.

That is not much of an incentive to be "good".

The most patronising part was when they highlighted the following: "That will only be an extra €100 each."

That is "only" €100 to three girls on salaries of €24,000 a year. Know your audience, estate agents.

You don't mind paying a high price for somewhere you look forward to going home to.

But I've lived in places where the shower was the equivalent of someone dribbling on you from a height, and we had a slug infestation to boot.

There was also a build-up of mould on the kitchen ceiling due to our extractor fan not working - despite numerous requests to get it fixed.

If the Government really wants to tackle the rental crisis, it should implement measures whereby the quality of housing is assessed before landlords get to slap any price they like on the property.

At the moment, if you go house-hunting on the various rental websites, you'll come across some horrid sights.

The problem is there's nobody overseeing the standard of property being rented.

Read more: Housing Crisis Q&A: What is a Rent Pressure Zone?

The 4pc rent cap isn't going to stop landlords exploiting tenants, and it most certainly isn't going to lower the exorbitant prices we're already paying to live in the capital.

Fashionistas say if you want to brighten up a struggling outfit, stick a belt on it.

To fix Ireland's housing problems, the Government need to stick a lot more than a cap on it.

Irish Independent

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