Rising rents: ‘The search has been shocking, daunting and stressful’

Tenants tell their stories as they face brunt of the housing crisis and rising rents

Zara Cassidy Cost: ‘I’ve been renting for 11 years in Dublin, but this is the first time I’ve actually felt scared’

Zara Cassidy Cost: ‘I’ve been renting for 11 years in Dublin, but this is the first time I’ve actually felt scared’

 

Zara Cassidy Coss - Dublin

I’ve been renting for 11 years in Dublin, but this is the first time I’ve actually felt scared. The housing crisis is affecting everyone; even if you’re a sitting tenant, you’re not safe.

While there have been regulations brought in to protect tenants, I don’t feel like they’re being monitored, and they have loopholes which can be exploited.

One day, my landlord called my fellow tenants and I to inform us that we would have to leave the property because he wanted to renovate with the intention of selling the place afterwards.

He called back later saying he wasn’t sure about actually wanting to sell and said that if we wanted to stay on as tenants we could vacate for 6-8 weeks and then pay a higher rent upon return - €850 higher, to be exact. This has left us no choice but to leave, as none of us can afford that.

One of the loopholes to the 4 per cent cap on yearly rental increases is if the landlord completes renovations, but I’ve heard of people being kicked out for that reason only to find their old property back on Daft.ie a week later.

Throughout my tenancy, I have never been late with the rent and have overall been a model tenant, which is exactly what I pleaded to my landlord regarding the proposed increase.

His reply was to shrug his shoulders and say while smirking “Well, I’ll definitely get what I’m asking for it”. That was the end of the discussion.

‘Shocking, daunting and stressful’

I asked my landlord if he could give me the eviction notice in writing; the notice he gave me was handwritten in pencil, and the listed renovations which he was using to justify moving us out had question marks around them, for example: “Replace carpet... kitchen??”

I’ve tried ringing Threshold, but they told me there was little they could do. I reached out Paschal Donohoe because he’s my local TD, but he didn’t respond to me.

I’ve been looking for accommodation on Daft.ie and the experience has been shocking, daunting and stressful.

I’m happy to see the work that Ronan Lyons is doing, but it annoys me that his reports never account for the quality of accommodation being offered or the conditions landlords are setting - I’ve seen landlords asking for three months rent in advance.

I work full-time in a university, and I can only imagine how the young students starting college must feel, being forced to pay extortionate prices for substandard accommodation.

I have already applied for a loan in case I need to pay a higher rent than I can afford on my current salary, assuming I even find somewhere suitable. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Bee Baker (24) - Dublin

While I’ve been renting the same place since 2015, my first three months in Dublin were spent essentially homeless.

Having moved from Maynooth, I had to beg favours from friends and my boyfriend’s family while I looked for housing.

It was a truly miserable and stressful period. Working evenings and weekends also took its toll, as I had hardly any opportunity to attend viewings despite spending all my available time sending countless emails.

Any time I attended a viewing, there was a queue of people outside the house all competing for the same overpriced box room.

On one occasion, I thought I had finally gotten lucky and secured a room in Phibsborough. However, the following day I was told the landlord had changed his mind and decided to give it to his friend’s son.

Rooms I saw online were criminally bad. One “room” for just under €400 a month was a couch in an open plan kitchen-living room. Another was a single bed available to share with a man for around €300 a month. I wish I was joking.

In my current house, which I share with six others, I pay €550 a month for an en-suite room and the landlord raises rent whenever it takes his fancy.

However, this is the best situation I could get and I know I’m lucky. It’s actually not as cramped as you might expect in a house with seven people. All but two of the bedrooms are en-suite, and we all share the kitchen/living room area.

Dismal

I’m very fond of the house and the location. We’re in Rathmines, close to town and my job. Considering how much worse I could have it, and as stressful as my current landlord is, I’d stick it out rather than try to find somewhere else if I had no immediate reason to leave.

However, my boyfriend and I are considering getting a place with another couple next year. There seems to be a lot more affordable and nicer places going with two bedrooms, so I’m staying hopeful on that front. I had a look at one bedroom apartments and it was pretty dismal.

I don’t know what the solution is, but I feel like dishonest unregistered landlords are getting away with so much and need to be much more closely regulated and more severely penalised.

Some houses are absolute dumps and they’re still going for ridiculous amounts per month.

I pity anyone looking to move to Dublin. It’s embarrassing that our capital city is so incapable of providing for its inhabitants.

I love Dublin and definitely consider it my home now, but renting brings huge uncertainty; it’s terrifying and competitive.

Interviews by Eva Short and Fiachradh McDermott