WHILE house prices have dropped quite a bit, monthly rents have more or less stayed the same.
During the Celtic Tiger era single people with good salaries decided that it would be better to buy a house rather than pay rent that was equivalent to the average mortgage. But things have changed. Single people with a mortgage are struggling as a result of the levies of recent Budgets.
In mainland Europe, rented accommodation is secure, rents can only be raised by landlords when major upgrades are made to apartments. Here in Ireland, rented accommodation is poorly regulated.
Living in an apartment in any city in Ireland is beyond the reach of single adults living on a low or minimum wage. Some landlords stick a double bed in a one-bedroom apartment, which gives them the excuse to charge between €700 and €1,000 a week rent for two people.
The irony is that a person who is unemployed has a better chance of getting a place if he can get on to the Rent Allowance Scheme.
With no money left to build more social housing, and the IMF breathing down our necks, more people will find themselves renting. Long-term secure contracts should be the norm, as they are in cities all over Europe.
CLlr Nuala Nolan
Bowling Green, Galway