Renters left out in the cold in Dublin
Queuing in the rain amid a large crowd of would-be renters to view an apartment that may not suit is not a fun pursuit – but more and more renters in Dublin are competing with others to secure suitable accommodation, writes BERNICE HARRISON
ON MONDAY evening, as the rain sheets down, you don’t need to peer at the house numbers to spot which is No 3 Northumberland Road. By 5.45pm there is a queue of 20 people getting very wet outside the rather grim looking modern red brick building in Ballsbridge, even though the open viewing for the three rental apartments isn’t due to start until 6pm.
The apartments they are waiting to see aren’t even cheap – there are two two-beds with a monthly rental of €1,200, while the four-bed is on offer at €2,000. So this isn’t a crowd of 20-somethings prepared to brave the miserable weather for a bargain – and the resigned look on all their faces indicates they’ve been in queues like this before.
“I recognise half the people here,” says New Yorker Caitlin Duffy, who works as a fundraiser.
“I’ve seen a lot of them over the last few weeks; finding an apartment in Dublin is so hard. There is so much competition.”
She currently lives in a one-bedroom basement flat in nearby Baggot Street, paying €1,000 per month, and she says finding a place to live two years ago was a much easier process. She wants to move to somewhere brighter and has negotiated a month-by-month arrangement with her current landlord while she’s searching. She is looking at one of the two-bed apartments.
“This waiting-in-line scenario is pretty typical – every viewing I’ve been to, there has been about 30 people,” she says, though, looking around at the growing queue, she is considering giving up and going home. “Some realtors will only make an appointment for maybe three people at a time. That’s better. That way you feel you have a chance of actually getting the apartment. With all these people here? This seems pointless.”
Her search for an apartment sounds time-consuming and frustrating, and she’s been at viewings where she suspects the successful renter has stayed behind with a wad of cash to seal the deal. “That happens all the time – I’ve cash on me now.”
But Nick Crawford, the agent for the Northumberland Road apartments who organised the Monday-night viewing, rebuts this idea. “Absolutely not, that simply does not happen, I can tell you it’s not something I would do,” he says.
“As soon as the apartments went up on the website, we started getting a reaction. When it reached 30 emails and 50 phone calls with people offering deposits for the apartments sight-unseen, I thought the best and fairest way was to do an open viewing.”
His plan for the evening is to show the apartments, take people’s references but no deposits, and decide with the landlord the following day which tenants would be “the right combination” for the building.
From the mix of hoodies and smart suits, the queue seems evenly divided between students and young workers.