Monday 10 December 2018

'I can't look towards a future here unless rent crisis is sorted'

My story: the tenant

Renter Shashank Kumar (22) came from India to study at UCD and is now a young
professional working at Property Button. PHOTO: MARK CONDREN
Renter Shashank Kumar (22) came from India to study at UCD and is now a young professional working at Property Button. PHOTO: MARK CONDREN

Shashank Kumar

I moved to Ireland from India to study a Masters in UCD because this country had been sold as a land of opportunity and there are many positives here.

But the quality of life here isn't good due to high rent and lack of homes. I spend 30pc of my salary on rent.

When educational representatives from Ireland came to India to promote studying in Dublin, I thought the city and country sounded amazing. We were told the economy was thriving and there were plenty of jobs. But as soon as I arrived, I realised there was a problem with housing.

I was forced to stay with a friend for a while until I found somewhere to rent but it wasn't affordable. Other students ended up staying for prolonged periods in hostels.

I moved into a house with friends eventually but was paying rent I couldn't afford. We stayed there for around seven months, until the landlord said he wanted to refurbish the house. It took several very stressful weeks to find a new home in Dún Laoghaire. After hundreds of emails and phone calls, I was really lucky and found a home with my friends. There was a queue of families outside and they really needed a home, but I had just made that call first.

I share the house now with my four friends and I pay 30pc of my salary every month on rent. That's too much. It's so hard to find a home to rent and when you do, the prices are so high.

I'm worried that if my rent increased to €800, I wouldn't be able to afford to live in Ireland anymore.

I can't see a long-term future in Ireland unless the property sector is controlled. I expected something to help renters in the Budget, but there was nothing.

The Government is relying heavily on private landlords and developers to provide properties for renters. But they are charging too high rents and there is absolutely no security for renters.

The best answer is the Government building its own houses, to include affordable homes for sale and affordable properties to rent. And a cap should be set on how much rent or sale prices apply to each house.

This system would be much better and fairer, but leaving housing in the private market is proving to be a failure. Not addressing the housing crisis is detrimental to Ireland.

News will spread about how bad Ireland's housing problem is.

Irish Independent

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