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Sunday 23 April 2017

Exposed: The shocking conditions of Dublin's rental accommodation

Meadhbh McGrath

Shocking video footage exclusive to reveals the horrid conditions of Dublin’s rental accommodation.

These cramped apartments, some of which are so small that the bed is pushed up next to the kitchen counter, are being advertised online for up to €1,000 a month.

Earlier this week, a report from property listings website found that rents across the country have soared above €1,000 a month.

On May 1, rental supply was at its lowest point on record with fewer than 3,100 properties available to rent nationwide, according to the report.

A studio apartment in Dublin 1
A studio apartment in Dublin 1
A studio apartment in Dublin 1
A studio apartment in Dublin 1

In 2015, that figure was 4,300 and in 2009 there were 23,000 homes advertised to rent.

As of yesterday, there were just 3,400 rental properties available, and with so few places on the market, tenants are becoming more willing to settle for extremely poor conditions at eye-wateringly high prices.

We visited a number of apartments advertised online for less than €1,000 across Dublin city, and the findings were bleak.

Many properties were listed as ‘studio apartments’, despite consisting of no more than a single room which was crammed with a bed, a hob, a sink and a separate toilet and shower.

A flat in Dublin 8
A flat in Dublin 8
A studio apartment in Dublin 1
The staircase leading to the bedroom in a flat in Dublin 8

Read more: ‘House-hunting rejection is even worse than online dating’

In Dublin 1, one such apartment was advertised for €850 a month.

Before agreeing to a viewing, the landlord made repeated requests to see a passport, and asked to know where potential tenants worked and whether they were in college.

On opening the door, guests are greeted by the foot of the tenant’s bed, which is nestled between the tiny bathroom and the kitchen/living area.

A flat in Dublin 8
A flat in Dublin 8
A studio apartment in Dublin 1
A studio apartment in Dublin 4
A studio apartment in Dublin 4
A studio apartment in Dublin 4

Inside the door, there was an alarm system bearing a “shock hazard warning” tag, along with a washing machine and a small sink, on the opposite side of the room from the cooking area.

Above the kitchen space – which consisted of a fridge, an oven and hob and a microwave – the walls were stained with dirty brown grease patches.

Next to the kitchen, a small dining table with one chair was pushed up against the tatty leather sofa, which was heavily cracked and split, and covered in tears and scratches.

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

A coffin-like bathroom included a toilet and barely enough room to wrap a towel around yourself after hopping out of the cramped shower.

The current tenant had left a full bag of rubbish by the bed, making for an even worse impression.

The footage also shows another so-called ‘studio apartment’ in Dublin 4, which was on offer for €955 a month.

A flat in Dublin 8
A flat in Dublin 8

The room, which contained a double bed squeezed up against the sofa, with just a foot of space separating the end of the mattress from the kitchen counters.

The tenant will have to eat their dinners on the couch, as the room offers no dining area.

The flat has its own separate bathroom, with a toilet and a tiny shower.

Read more: 'One house I viewed was on different websites, under different landlords, with different photos - but the same address'

There was a TV sitting above the head of the bed, which the landlord suggested could be mounted next to the door.

A shabby-looking flat in Dublin 8, in which the bed was housed in what appeared to be a converted closet, was advertised for €850 a month.

A studio apartment in Dublin 4
A studio apartment in Dublin 4

The living, kitchen and dining area was in a separate room, and a small staircase leads to the tiny box bedroom.

Inside, the double bed leaves barely enough room to shuffle to the wardrobe, which sits above on a raised platform.

The small bedroom window looks out on a brick wall.

Although the flat boasts a power shower, tenants might have trouble turning around, as the bathroom is so cramped.

However, tenants desperate to work and live in the city have been eagerly snapping them up, as potential renters lined up with references in hand to speak to the landlords.

“As Ireland's largest classified property advertising website we don't manage the properties; but host ads on behalf of landlords/agents etc,” said Mr Clancy.

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