Monday 23 April 2018

'It's obnoxious, the rent we are getting from our apartment, yet it doesn't quite cover the costs of owning it'

Ceire Sadlier (35) with her children Juno (6) and Milo (4). Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Ceire Sadlier (35) with her children Juno (6) and Milo (4). Photo: Douglas O'Connor Newsdesk Newsdesk

Ceire Sadlier is a freelance writer. She is currently renting a house in Donnycarney with her husband and two children. They also rent out an apartment for what she describes herself as "obnoxious money", but says it still does not quite cover the costs of owning it.

She says she now feels "lucky" that they pay €1,650 rent on their three-bed in Donnycarney, despite thinking it was outrageous rent 18 months ago.

Ceire tells her story:

My son just started Junior Infants and one of the other mammies asked me how he was getting on. Fine, what about your son? I asked. She told me that she was worried because it was a hectic time for them - they had just bought a house and the builders were in.

It pinched, like conversations like that do. We may never own a family home. You're a renter - get on with it, I tell myself.

Six months ago my family appeared in the RTÉ documentary, Ireland's Property Crisis. At the time, I was fighting a management company decision to ban short-term lets in our negative equity apartment, the mortgage for which we could only afford by doing Airbnb. We were also waiting for the bank to come back about our second application for a trade-down negative equity mortgage. On both fronts, we were stonewalled.

Another whack in the face in our 11-year game of dodgeball with the bank and the Government. It has never been plain sailing.

We decided to test the sales market. The auctioneer was confident - cash buyers, loads of them! And sure, Brexit and all that, loads of British companies moving over - it'll be sold in no time with enough money for a deposit.

We started dreaming again but that fantasy whined and sputtered like a freshly blown balloon that escapes your fingers before you can tie it. No one came to see the apartment let alone put in an offer. Yes, people are buying, but that mid-2000s 'get on the property ladder' hasn't come back yet. People and banks are slightly more sensible about buying one-bedroom apartments than we were.

But rents are so high these days - a city centre apartment, we'll be laughing surely? That's true. I advertised the apartment and took it down off the website after half an hour. I showed it and apologised when people asked me how much the rent would be.

It's obnoxious, the rent we are getting, yet it doesn't quite cover the costs of owning it. We don't make enough money from our jobs to pay for the mortgage, our own rent as well as childcare. And I'm asking for market rates. And I'm a lovely landlord. And I pay the income tax on it. So why do I feel so guilty?

I am a renter, too. When we moved in 18 months ago, we wailed about paying €1,650 for our three-bed in Donnycarney. Last month, my neighbour's two-bed went on the rental market for €2,000 and now I feel lucky.

Someone told me they saw a man taking a photo of my house when I was out. When I mentioned it to my neighbour, she said it was a bank doing a 'drive-by evaluation' of her house. We laughed about how ridiculous that seemed until she said: "Unless your landlord's thinking of selling and they're doing an evaluation of yours!"

And that pinched. Like those conversations do.

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