With a three-year-old daughter in a small flat, and a landlord about to sell the building, Bernardo Mba Mabaha and his partner Teresa Ebang really needed to find somewhere new to live.
“We had been looking since last November, but it had not been going well,” he says. “We wanted a two-bed, but we were thinking we would have to go for a one-bed, but even then we couldn’t get anything. Then I saw the advertisement online for Tuath cost rental, and I contacted Tuath and I said ‘I have seen this, I just want to confirm if this is true’
“I didn’t quite believe it could be true because of the price. I know at the moment what you can rent for in Dublin; for a two-bedroom apartment it is about €2,000, and we were ready to go for a one-bedroom apartment that would cost at least €1,500. But here I was seeing a brand-new apartment with two bedrooms for €1,264.”
Mr Mba Mabaha submitted an application, but believed it was going to be a long shot. “Tuath were very kind and then instructed me about how I could apply but I knew it was lottery system and a lot more people applied than there were apartments.”
The number of applications received for the Parklands cost-rental apartments near Citywest in Dublin was about 10 times the number of homes available.
“That we were chosen, it really was such as blessing. We’re really thankful,” he says. “Where we had been staying wasn’t very good for us with a little baby. It was a small space. It wasn’t even as big as one of the rooms we have now... it is all so amazing.”
The most important aspect, Mr Mba Mabaha says, is the security of tenure than enables his family to put down roots.
“Unlike other rental properties, you can stay for the long term. For example our contract is until 2028. It’s your home for as long as you want. That makes us really, really happy. We feel secure. "
After five years of couch-surfing and trying to secure housing with the homeless housing assistance payment (Hap), Courtney Doyle had almost given up hope of finding somewhere to rent.
“I needed somewhere locally because my job is in Dublin 22. I’m a cleaner and, because I start early, I wouldn’t really be able to commute because you wouldn’t have the public transport before six o’clock in the morning.”
She saw an advertisement on Facebook for the Kilcarbery cost-rental scheme near Clondalkin.
“I clicked into it and I saw they had some houses being built in Kilcarbery, which was local to me. I think it was around December or January.”
The search for a permanent home became all the more urgent for Ms Doyle when she discovered she was pregnant.
“I remember when I found out I was pregnant. Honestly, I really had to think about whether I could go ahead with the pregnancy because of my circumstances of living. It was quite scary and worrying. We didn’t know where we were going to go with the baby, but thank God this place came on time,” she said.
Ms Doyle and her partner Ross are renting a two-bed apartment for €1,229, which she says is a substantial chunk of their monthly income, but far less than private rental rates.
“We do have to work that little bit harder to be able to afford it, but you wouldn’t get anything locally in this price range. You’d be looking at €1,300 or €1,500 for a one-bedroom that’s not in the best shape either.”
Their new apartment is of an extremely high standard, she says.
“It is a beautiful home. I would consider it a luxury apartment. It has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a really open space in the kitchen/sitting room, a really, really spacious balcony, a utility room and a storage room.”
Their baby, a girl, is due in November and they are now busy preparing the apartment for her.
“It means so much because we’ve worked so hard to get to this stage so we can appreciate it that little bit more. There is nothing better than having the comfort of your own home. Having the baby on the way and having the space and the secure place for her to grow up and have her own room, we’re over the moon.”