Aga Nowak sits in her rented accommodation surrounded by packed boxes. “I’m so sorry,” she said, breaking down in tears. “It’s such a difficult time.”
Originally from Poland and now living in Dublin 18, the mother of two received notice from her landlord in November to vacate the property to make way for a sale.
After a six-month search, she and her husband are now one of 20,000 people chasing fewer than 1,000 homes in Ireland.
“When our landlord gave us notice I asked if we could stay until June, when the children finish school, but she didn’t give us the time.
“She needs to sell and she is entitled to do that — it’s her house — but it’s been very stressful.
“I have tried around 45 properties and only four got back to me,” Ms Nowak said.
“I started a job at An Post last May and I had been waiting for the six-month probation period so I could secure a mortgage, but with the price of property it has been impossible to find somewhere for five people, as my mother lives with us too.
“We have around €2,300 for rent a month. I would still like to save for a mortgage but when I look at the prices it scares me because there is absolutely no chance to rent and save.
“It’s very hard because the kids can see me packing, and they say, ‘mum, where are we going next week?’ There is only one week left and I have to tell them, ‘I don’t know’.
“Yesterday when I got a message from another agency to tell us we didn’t get the house I lost all hope. And today another call made me so angry.
“A landlord asked me what age my kids are and what schools they go to. How is that relevant if I can pay?
“I don’t tell them my mother is living with us because I know they won’t rent us a two-bed, and that is the only one I am able to afford, because even that is around €2,300-€2,500. I can’t dream about renting a three-bed.
“This morning I could see my daughter packing boxes and she tells me she is OK but she is very quiet.
“I know I will have a better chance at getting a council house if I go into emergency accommodation but I don’t want that and it’s not worth it for the impact it will have on my kids.
“I don’t want anything for free, I want to pay my way but there is so little out there.”