In Pictures: A €1k one-bed garden flat for rent in Dublin
'It is not surprising we are seeing some extreme measures' – market expert
Published 27/09/2016 | 17:49
As someone who has rented accommodation in Dublin for seven years, I have seen some interesting sights while house hunting in the capital.
From a house in Fairview where three men were asleep in one bed while the owner showed me the property, to an apartment on Dorset Street where there was mould in all the rooms and rat poison laid down outside the back door – the rental market in Dublin has a very ‘vibrant’ selection.
In the midst of some awful accommodation viewings, I always managed to find some liveable places in the end (at a hefty price).
With Ireland smack-bang in the middle of a housing crisis now, and the prospect of getting a mortgage in your twenties seeming like an elusive dream, the rental market has become even more 'colourful' in recent years.
It’s not just apartments and houses any more, now there are one-bed garden flats and garden sheds.
Most recently a “one bedroom studio flat” at the back of someone's home in Drimnagh was brought to my attention.
Whenever I hear the word studio, I always think of the glitz and glam of the television industry.
On the Irish property market, however, a studio can be far from glamorous.
After looking at this particular studio on Daft.ie, the first thought which popped into my head was: “Is this a converted shed or office?”
I decided to arrange a viewing to see it in the flesh.
When originally enquiring about the property, I did pose the question – “it does kind of look like an old shed,” to which the receptionist of the estate agents advertising the property responded “no, absolutely not.”
In fairness, the room was in good condition. New wooden floors had been put in place and the bathroom had a new shower and toilet installed.
However, the only facilities of note were a microwave and a washing machine which was located in the wooden shed next door.
I was informed that it was well insulated by the agents, but the radiator seemed to be one of those plug-in storage heaters, which left me sceptical about how warm I would be in the winter.
The window and door were double glazed which would keep the heat in, I was advised.
The estate agent told me that a two ring cooker would soon be installed after I noticed there was nowhere to potentially cook my food.
And even if I did cook my food, I wouldn’t have to worry about setting a table. There was a table but no chair, which is a bit like having a bed with no mattress, making the dinner table somewhat redundant.
It looked a bit bigger in the photographs, but the advertisement did state it was “compact” with limited storage space, limited being a flattering word.
The space wouldn't accommodate any Irish girl's wardrobe.
The main selling point for the agent was the “separate entrance” to the owner of the house and the fact I wouldn’t have to plod through his house to get to my own.
To rent this studio for one month it would cost approximately €1000 - €890 in rent and €100 in utilities.
“Will I be able to use the owner’s WiFi too?,” I asked.
Apparently the owner didn’t have WiFi, he uses a dongle. The broadband crisis isn’t just limited to rural Ireland after all it seems.
Add the UPC bill on top of rent and utilities, and you’re looking at over €1,000 for a one-bed flat with little to no storage space at the back of someone’s house.
With Dublin rents at an all-time high, surpassing Celtic Tiger prices, this wasn’t particularly shocking.
“€1,000 for a one-bed which is close to the Luas red line, I suppose you can expect that kind of price with the market as it is now and landlords having a lot of additional costs,” said Michael Salley, CEO of Salley Property Services.
“I think the market is very high at the moment. Before the crash you would see two-bed houses going in Shankill for €1,500 or €1,600. Now it’s around €1,800, €1,900 or so and it [the housing market] is only going to get worse probably.”
Regarding the type of accommodation being made available on the market, Mr Salley laments the way things seem to be going.
“I have seen stuff that is completely inappropriate and it’s not something we want to be involved in. There’s a lot of rubbish out there unfortunately,” he said.
Meanwhile, Daft.ie economist Ronan Lyons says Ireland’s housing crisis is contributing to some of the sub-standard properties on the market at the moment.
“There is an incredibly tight supply at the moment, particularly in Dublin. It is not surprising we are seeing some extreme measures like this coming up on the housing market,” he said.
“There is an average price of between €450 and €600 for a room now, whether it is a single or a double room, and I think that’s what’s encouraging people to build extensions on their homes or even convert sheds into flats, but of course all these things need to be compliant with regulations,” he added.
I decided not to take the flat in the end, mainly because I’m not actually looking for somewhere to live, but if I was, I don’t think my budget would cover a €1,000 one-bed studio at the back of someone’s gaff.
My house at the moment is better than anything I've lived in in previous years – I can’t see my own breath when I talk and the shower isn’t equivalent to someone dribbling on you from a height.
After some of the viewings I’ve been to over the last few weeks, I sincerely hope I don’t have to go house-hunting in Dublin again for a long, long time.