Saturday 3 December 2016

'We were homeless for the first two weeks of college' – Renters share their horror stories

Published 18/10/2016 | 16:07

As the renting crisis continues, some students have horror stories to tell.

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Almost 25pc of all Dublin dwellers are living in private rented accommodation in the capital.

As prices continue to rise landlords are taking creative approaches to letting – converting garden sheds, squeezing more people into bedrooms or just bringing up their prices.

Many renters are paying high rents for overcrowded, cold or poor quality houses. One house in Temple Bar was recently found to have 45 people squeezed into five bedrooms. But does everyone have a renting horror story?

We went out to speak to student renters and they shared the following stories with independent.ie.

Homeless for two weeks

Laura and Sean, both from Wexford, were homeless for the first two weeks of college while they looked for accommodation. When they finally found a place, they found themselves needing to put up four months’ rent with just a few days’ notice.

“We viewed sixteen different properties and kept calling and emailing and getting no response,” Sean told independent.ie.

“When we found a place, they wanted four months’ rent in advance, which was close to three grand. We were told on the Saturday and we paid it on the Wednesday,” Laura said.

“I gave him a cheque from my dad’s company and the husband said he didn’t want to be dealing with my dad, so I had to go and cash the cheque in and walk around with close to three grand on me.”

“We were just so happy to get a place in the end that we were willing to pay whatever. One of the lads is paying €550 a month and he has a shoebox room,” Sean said.

Broken utilities

Niamh, a second year student in DCU, lived in student accommodation Glasnevin last year and paid high prices for low quality. She and her flatmates had to deal with a broken fridge, a lack of hot water and heating and they had to fight to get these problems fixed.

“We got a good response at first but when we had to keep going back complaining about things, they got sick of looking after us, but they weren’t doing anything about it so we had to keep going back,” she told independent.ie.

“I paid about six grand for the year; it’s gone up again this year but it was still more than six grand last year when I was there. I’m paying even more this year but thankfully we haven’t had any problems.”

Frightening phone calls

Molly, another DCU second year, has had a good experience in student accommodation, but some of her friends feel unsafe in their home.

“My friends have gotten calls from an unknown number on their mobile phones; he seems to know all their names and numbers; he’s complaining about noise because there’s nine girls in the house and they’re getting a bit freaked out,” Molly told independent.ie.

“The place was broken into three times last year.”

Eimear, who didn’t want to be filmed, had a rat in her house near DCU two weeks ago.

“It wasn’t really our landlord’s fault and we’ve had a good experience besides that. It’s much better than last year anyway – I was in digs paying €180 a week and they gave us such small portions we were always hungry,” Eimear told independent.ie.

“We ate some leftovers one day from the night before and she texted us saying ‘why did you eat that? That was the dinner for tonight'.”

Another group of girls who declined to be filmed said they had a lucky escape when the roof of their previous accommodation “caved in a little bit”.

“Luckily we’d just moved out a few weeks before!” they laughed.

If you have any rental horror stories to share, get in touch at contact@independent.ie.

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