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Saturday 1 October 2016

‘Being a landlord caused me nothing but misery’ – Dublin woman shares the other side of the rental crisis

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 20/05/2016 | 12:06

Stock photo: keys
Stock photo: keys

A woman who rented out a room for the first time this year has described the experience of being a landlord as “nothing but misery”.

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Deirdre* (26) decided to list a spare room in her house for rent online earlier this year.

She bought her Dublin home three years ago, and was hoping the rent would help her pay off college fees while studying for a Master’s degree.

“After taking the time to do an ad, place it online, sit in all weekend to meet people and show them the house, I picked a girl. She seemed lovely, so I offered her the room,” Deirdre told Independent.ie.

However, when the day arrived for her to move in, “she never showed up”.

“I tried to text and then a few hours later, I tried to call, but still nothing.

“I just couldn’t understand what kind of person wouldn’t give any text or call out of courtesy to say they had changed their mind or found somewhere else,” she said.

Read More: Exposed: The shocking conditions of Dublin's rental accommodation

Deirdre immediately re-listed the ad online, and prepared for another weekend of interviews. After being bombarded with applications, she narrowed down the list of potential flatmates, and requested a reference from each.

Eventually, she decided on a man in his early 20s.

“I thought, he’s a nice fella, he’s from Dublin, he was doing electrical work. I trusted him,” she said.

However, as the first month passed, she noticed more and more issues arising.

“He broke a glass and didn’t say anything, he was smoking in his room, he had burned a hole in the duvet cover and on my net curtains, he wrecked the frying pan, and my neighbour complained about him throwing cigarette butts in her garden.

“He never bought essentials and he used everything in the house – I let him use my bed clothes, I gave him a duvet cover set I got as a present, I couldn’t have been more nice,” she said.

She continued: “I was willing to let all of this go and move on. I asked if he was happy living in my house to which he said yes. I asked him to take turns with me in regards to buying essentials and no smoking in the house.”

Read More: Rent crisis: 'The landlord didn't fix broken things - we went the whole winter without heating'

When the time came for him to pay the first month’s rent (€480) and bills (€100), she knocked on his door and found he had cleared out the room.

“He was gone. He never said one word, never left a key, nothing. I cannot understand in this day and age how people can carry on like this. I rented for eight years myself and I would never have imagined not giving any notice.

“I rented in places when I was a student that were in bits, and I’d still tell the landlord if I was moving out,” she added.

Deirdre soon realised he had not returned his key, and reached out to ask him for it along with the bills he owed, to which he responded with  a series of threats on Facebook.

“He said if I didn’t give him the deposit back he was going to send people round to collect it and he was going to make life difficult for me,” she said.

“I had to get guards up, and they said to get the locks changed. I gave this person a key to my house, and he could walk back in, he can come into my house even when I’m not there. It’s horrible.”

As he refused to give the key back, Deirdre was ended up paying nearly €200 to change the locks.

Read More: Broken lifts, stinking sewage and incessant fire alarms - renter tells of shockingly poor conditions in Dublin complexes

“I was only doing this to try and clear some of my debts from college, it was going to be a little bit of help and it caused me nothing but misery.

“It left me scared and worried and I don’t think I could ever rent a room again,” she said.

The night before he moved out, Deirdre had spent the evening watching funny videos with him in the sitting room, and was shocked to see he had vanished the next morning.

“I just can’t get over it,” she said.

“I am disgusted with some of the stories I have seen lately with horrible dirty rooms being offered and it is not right, but the way tenants are behaving I can understand why landlords have their guard up. This is one person who will probably never be a landlord again.”

*Deirdre's name was changed for the purpose of this article

If you are a landlord or a tenant and you would like to get in touch with us and share your Rental Crisis story, email us on Facebook or at contact@independent.ie. You can also tweet us @independent_ie.

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