Peek Inside 'Peppercorn': A trendy two-bedroom Phibsborough home
A neat two-bedroom home in Dublin 7 reminds us of times when rents could be token
A peppercorn rent was conceived as a legal device to designate virtual ownership of a property without actually conferring full responsibility of ownership. It may have been conceived to absolve the beneficiaries of taxes charged to outright owners but not to tenants.
Back in a time when pepper was a very valuable trade commodity indeed, peppercorn rents are thought to have originated in Britain. The practice involved a single peppercorn actually being handed over once a year and then receipted from tenant to landlord. The peppercorn served as the nominal "rent".
Interestingly some properties around the word are still "rented" in this way. The University of Bath's campus is held on a 999 year lease from the Bath City Council and each year a single peppercorn is presented by the Treasurer of the University to an official and the Bath and North East Comerset Council.
In Sevenoaks, the Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club rents its grounds from the council for a single peppercorn and in Bermuda the Masonic Lodge at St George's presents a single peppercorn to the Governor of the Island on a velvet cushion in turn placed on top of a silver tray.
And so "Peppercorn" at 4 Phibsborough in Dublin 7 got its name from the fact that it was originally let on a peppercorn lease. Constructed in the 1770s, it is one of the suburb's oldest homes and its builder, according to the owner's records, was one George Phibbs. This may in turn help clarify the confusion which surrounds the name of the Dublin village itself - variously spelled Phibsborough and Phibsborough and pronounced "Fizzboro" by locals. There have been arguments over the years among historians whether the name related to the Phipps or Phibbs families, both of which having associations with the area from the 17th and 18th centuries.
But the prospect of renting a decent two-bedroom house like this for a single peppercorn per month is now a fantasy for those perusing today. A house like this one in Phibsborough will now set you back something in the order of €2,000 per month.
Extending to 915 sq ft, Peppercorn has been modernised in recent times and is ready to walk into. The first door from the hall leads into the living room with its cornicings, a period fireplace and a single elaborately wallpapered feature wall. There's a dining room with oak floor and built in shelving which leads in turn to the kitchen extension. This has fitted units, another oak floor and an integrated dishwasher. Double doors open out into the garden which has rear lane access. Upstairs has two double bedrooms, one of which is ensuite, and the house also has a main bathroom. It is fitted with double-glazed sash windows and gas-fired central heating which is zoned. On street parking is by disc. Rents (and prices) at Phibsborough are set to rise to rise further with the pending arrival of the Luas, which has already hiked up prices in the past in Dundrum, Ballinteer, Sandyford and Windy Arbour. Also helping matters here is the continued expansion of the DIT 'super' college campus at Grangegorman.
Latterly the hipster reputation enjoyed by neighbouring Stoneybatter has been seeping in around here with the opening of Two Boys Brew - the speciality coffee and food outlet, with Yogahub fitness studio, the Bang Bang Café and the Camile Thai Take Away. This house is located near the Back Page Sports Bar and Woodstock dinner.
The area's recently trendy kudos has been reinforced by the increasingly lively Phizzfest annual local festival which takes place in April. The village is already located a half hour's walk from the city centre, from the vast acreage of the Phoenix Park and near the pocket park of the Blessington Basin.
4 Phibsborough, D7
Asking price: €395,000
Agent: Felicity Fox (01) 6334431