Tuesday 25 June 2019

Mission impossible - the quest to find a home in Dublin's crowded market

House hunting: Reporter Gabija Gataveckaite. Photo: David Conachy
House hunting: Reporter Gabija Gataveckaite. Photo: David Conachy

Gabija Gataveckaite

Bunk beds, intense competition and special conditions set out by landlords are just some of the obstacles facing would-be tenants in Dublin.

Most people looking for accommodation in the Greater Dublin Area now have to spend weeks, if not months, researching and hoping to be selected for viewings and interviews.

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This reporter spent 48 hours getting a taste of the dispiriting experience that is house-hunting in Dublin in 2019.

It began last week as more than 100 people queued up for a house viewing in Drumcondra, a suburb in the north of the city, in the hope of snagging somewhere to stay.

Daniel Flanagan (19), from Wexford, explained how "disheartening" it was to see a swarm of people outside the house he went to view.

"We waited 15-20 minutes and left because the line wasn't moving. We knew we had no chance," he said.

He said the three-bed house was on the rental market for a little over €2,000 a month.

"The price was very low, it wasn't cheap, but it was one of the cheapest on the market," he said. "The house seemed in presentable condition, it wasn't falling apart.

"Most houses which are on a budget rent are deteriorating."

Daniel explained that the majority of the viewers were students, desperate to secure their accommodation for the next academic year.

"I can't see myself living in Ireland. There's barely any jobs and there's nowhere to live," he said.

In Dublin's south city centre, we were among 15 people scheduled to view a bunk bed in a two-bedroom apartment.

Each bedroom has a set of bunk beds and a single bed.

The bunk bed is now rented by a non-national tenant who is moving out of the apartment.

She has been in the country for three months.

The person who will be selected out of those viewing the bunk bed will pay €450 a month.

If each of the three people sharing the room pay this, it is at least €1,350 a month.

The same amount of money will be made from the second bedroom - which means this two-bedroom apartment is pulling in €2,700 every month.

"There's been a lot of interest, it's Dublin," says the renter. She explains how she has viewings arranged with each hopeful over the coming days.

The apartment is newly furnished, and a Brazilian tenant explains that he has been in Ireland for a month.

A faint smell of cigarette smoke lingers.

The tenants have the use of the washing machine, but are allowed only a single load of washing each a week.

In north Dublin, some 6km from the city centre, a single room in a house share is up for grabs.

There are two double rooms, and three single rooms which mean that a total of seven people can occupy the house.

The single room comes in at just under €500 a month.

The house is in need of renovation and a deep clean, but the landlord says the current tenants will clean up before leaving.

"Irish students are the worst," he says.

Inside the front door of the house hangs a list of "special conditions".

They state tenants "are not to keep guests overnight without the landlord's permission".

They also stipulate the tenants should "draw back curtains and open windows for air before leaving in the morning".

As mostly students occupy the house, interest increases as students come and go. "I do feel sorry for them," the landlord says.

Letting agents are feeling the pressure too. A staff member in a letting agency in Dublin said that more than 50 applications are received daily.

"Fifty a day, and that's continuous. There will be 50 more tomorrow, it's extremely difficult for all."

Read more: Surge in new apartments as developers try to maximise profits from smaller units

Read more: Locked out: 'It's sad that I grew up in this city but now I can't afford to buy a home'

Read more: Runaway rents at record high as tenants pay more than mortgage

Read more: ‘Radical action’ urged to improve rental market

Irish Independent

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