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Sunday 25 August 2019

'My retirement plan - keep working until I drop dead'

Fifties Name: Aengus Hennessy

Aengus Hennessy with his wife Latifa Krim and sons Deedee (12) and Oisin (9) at their home in Decourcey Square. Photo by Kyran O'Brien
Aengus Hennessy with his wife Latifa Krim and sons Deedee (12) and Oisin (9) at their home in Decourcey Square. Photo by Kyran O'Brien

Aengus Hennessy is one of the growing number of older tenants in their fifties who are uncertain about what happens when they reach retirement age.

The 51-year-old cabinet maker rents a house in Glasnevin with his partner Latifa Krim, an artist and teacher. They have two boys, aged 12 and 9.

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"What is my retirement plan? I keep working until I drop dead. I will have a state pension, which is a pittance," Aengus says, only half-jokingly.

Aengus and Latifa pay €1,500 per month for their house - and he estimates that up to 70pc of his income goes in rent.

Although he likes his home, he believes tenants are like second-class citizens in Ireland.

Aengus, a member of the Dublin Tenants Association, holds out for the hope that he could buy some land and move to the country.

He says rapacious landlords from real estate investment trusts (REITs) are moving into Ireland, a country with poor tenancy laws, and outbidding regular buyers.

"The traditional idea of getting a mortgage and paying it off over your lifetime has gone," he says.

"We have a lot invested in the area where we live - I work nearby and we have two kids in school.

"The problem is that tenants have no security of tenure. We can be evicted for any reason at any time.

"There should be security of tenure for all tenants so long as they are paying their rent."

He says improved security of tenure would benefit both landlords and tenants.

"Without it, tenants are not invested in a house and so are unlikely to maintain a property that they may be evicted from.

"However, when they feel secure in a house and feel that it is a home, then they are far more likely to maintain a property and engage in the community."

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