Friday 27 April 2018

'One house I viewed was on different websites, under different landlords, with different photos - but the same address'

Fairview house was really old and had damp walls
Fairview house was really old and had damp walls
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

One of the biggest sufferers of the rental crisis are students. With limited budgets and a lack of rental experience, they can be the most vulnerable in the market. And I was most definitely one of them.

I hail from Donegal and lived in DCU’s student accommodation for all three years of my degree. While viewing houses with four other female classmates recently, I soon learned how bad the rental market really is in Dublin. 

Our budget was extremely limited (maximum budget of €500 per month each) which wasn’t going to get us very far in this market, we soon learned. Houses we viewed in that price range had either damp walls, tiny bedrooms or one bathroom to be shared among six people.

One retail agent who showed us a house to rent in Santry was particularly dismissive of us. While we’ve all completed our degree and await our graduation in November, he refused to call us anything other than students who would be prone to partying. We were asked at almost every viewing about our party-throwing habits, even though we continuously explained that we’d be working early mornings throughout the summer.

Fairview house was really old and had damp walls
Fairview house was really old and had damp walls

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This agent also laughed when we told him that we had just finished studying journalism. “Sure there’s no money in freelancing, how will you pay the rent?” He also told me that even though I had paid rent to DCU on time for three years, that didn’t count as a rent reference as it didn’t fall under private renting.

While the house was listed online at a cheap price the landlord informed us that there was such a demand for the house that he had bids in excess of the asking price, something we couldn't possibly compete with. Needless to say, we didn’t get that house.

With landlords requesting cash deposits, students are also very vulnerable to scams. One house I viewed was on different housing websites, under different landlords, with different photos and prices, but the same address. 

After examining the houses available to us we decided to just lease for three months because we couldn’t afford anything that was half decent in our price range for the year.

It’s a sorry state of affairs when three out of the five of us have part-time jobs as well as paid internships and can’t afford to lease a modest house in Dublin for a year.

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