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Friday 22 September 2017

Irish emigrant returning to Ireland 'appalled' at double deposit rent rule because references were 'high-risk'

'It felt like a slap in the face'

Mary O'Connor said the move back to Ireland after emigration has not been easy
Mary O'Connor said the move back to Ireland after emigration has not been easy
Denise Calnan

Denise Calnan

A young Irish woman has claimed she was told she would have to "pay double the deposit" on a rental property because she was moving home from the UK and was "high-risk."

Mary O'Connor (31), originally from Youghal, Co Cork, moved to London nine years ago to study nursing.

The general nurse recently made the decision to return home to Ireland, but said she was "appalled" by a comment that her references could not be trusted as she has not lived in Ireland for almost a decade.

"We've been looking at rental properties and found an apartment in Skerries for €1450, we thought it was a very good price for a two-bed on the coast," Mary told Independent.ie.

“My partner moves around with his job, and I'll be working in Dublin so we decided to meet halfway and go where he won't be battling as much traffic and I can easily get into the city.

"I told the agent I was speaking to that I could send on my reference, my banking, whatever you need.

"She said because we're coming from England we would have to double the deposit, or sign my guarantors.

"It felt like a slap in the face,” she continued.

“I'm not an 18-year-old getting a loan out of the bank needing my mammy and daddy to help.

"I said I am pretty low-risk, all my vetting is top notch. In the UK for vetting, they needed my family background and everything.

"I said I can provide that, my banking history.

"I have had two residencies in the UK, of five years each, I'm not jumping in and out of places.

"The agent said that I was high-risk and they don't know the landlords in the UK, I asked did they know of every private landlord in Ireland.

"Imagine if the same thing was said to an Irish person moving to the UK, I was appalled.

"The other letting agencies were fine, they said that's not their policy. I emailed the Property Services Regulatory Authority but there was nothing they could immediately do.

"I couldn't believe it."

Mary said it is particularly difficult to find a rental property in Dublin with the current housing shortage and any properties that feature on the market "are gone in 24 hours."

But she said she appreciated that she has an advantage over people moving home from further afield.

"Imagine trying to do it all from Australia or Canada, to try and organise a life back home again. I know I’m lucky."

Mary said her car insurance quote was another "shocker", but said it does not annoy her because the "same rule applies to everyone."

"The car insurance was a bit of a shocker, but you can accept that because the rule applies to everybody.

"My car insurance in the UK, with fully comprehensive for a Mini One is £400 for the year. I was quoted €1200 for it at home. But I can accept that because everybody is in the same situation."

She said there are fantastic opportunities for nurses in the UK, and many are surprised she is coming back to Ireland, but she is looking forward to living near family again.

"I start my first day of work in July, so I’ll live with family until we find a place.

"I’m looking forward to being near my family, my partner. I’ll miss the people I’m working with, my friends, the public transport is second to none here, the health system is fantastic, it’s free.

"I’m very lucky to be coming home though.

"I’ll probably miss the good weather too," she added.

The Property Services Regulatory Authority, which is part of the Department of Justice and Equality, responded to the incident and said that there is no provision in the Property Services (Regulation) Act 2011 "that provides how low or high a deposit must be or what circumstances would constitute a 'higher risk' that would require a higher deposit."

They said this is a matter for the landlord and the tenant to decide upon.

A spokesperson for Brady Property Agency, based in Dublin, said the reason for their policy of either paying double the deposit or signing a guarantor is because "they wouldn't have knowledge or any way of checking landlords abroad."

"Our policy has never been complained about before," a spokesperson said.

"The second deposit is only held for one year, you receive it back at the end of the year or you can put it towards the rent.

"I wouldn't have said the words 'high risk' were used. It's a set procedure.

"We have a lot of people coming from abroad. If they leave, we have absolutely no way of chasing them. The RTB [Residential Tenancies Board Ireland] have no powers abroad.

"The other option is to have a guardian or a guarantor with a permanent fixed address in Ireland.

"It's security for our clients," he added.

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