Generation Rent turning to social media rather than rental websites to find accommodation

Shut out of the rental market, an increasing number of young people are using Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to seek out house shares with like-minded people

Like others of her generation, 30-year-old Sophie Rogan spent ages looking at the Daft accommodation website in search of a place to live, only to find that she never received a reply, or that prices rose as tenants competed with each other. However, the Daft rental figures, which receive so much attention when they are announced, are but part of Ireland’s accommodation world – where there is more, but not enough, accommodation on offer – but it is not on offer to everyone.

Instead of settling for the meagre rental options available on Daft, younger people are having better luck using websites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to find house shares, especially with people who share their jobs, their interests or their sexuality. Having previously found “great housemates and rooms for great value using social media”, Rogan began by tweeting “a few times over a couple of weeks, using the hashtags #rentfairy and #dublinrent, saying I was looking for a room in Dublin”.

“There can be more competition on, which can drive up the prices, not to mention landlords or whoever is renting the room can remain anonymous, unlike social media which is traceable and should have your real name on it, in theory,” she says. “Being able to vet someone, or even just ‘check their vibe’ to see if they’d be a fit for the house is a massive pro of using social media when finding someone to live with.”

After a few posts, Rogan, who works full-time in Dublin, received a message from another Twitter user who had a room available. The pair messaged back and forth before “quickly agreeing” she would take the room. She now rents a small double room – with “extremely questionable wallpaper”, she jokes – but the rent is “at the lower end of what people usually pay in Dublin”, at €600 per month.


Before moving to Dublin, Rogan lived in Galway for several years, renting two different places during that time, one of which she found through “a somewhat infamous Facebook group” and another through word of mouth – a friend who knew the landlord. Some people prefer to skip advertising on websites such as, because social media allows housemates to vet newcomers or choose people with whom they have mutual friends, several people explained to The Irish Times.

Rooms advertised in larger, more generic social media groups tend to be more expensive and often include sharing a room with another person. One post on a generic rental group on Facebook with 90,000 members offered “two large double rooms, each with two single beds” which would “suit students or interns or similar”. The rooms were advertised at €600 per bed per month plus share of bills and a €600 deposit per person. Other offers on the page included single rooms for €850 per month, €950 per month for a double room, and double rooms for €1,100 and €1,200 per month.

However, smaller and more niche groups advertised rooms for far cheaper. One week of posts on an accommodation page specifically for teachers, with less than 10,000 members, showed several double rooms advertised within one week, ranging between €510 and €565 per month. Most posts specified that the housemates sought other women teachers in their 20s to live with.

Similarly, several rooms in an LGBT+ housing group, with fewer than 6,000 members, were advertised in the same week for between €550 and €800 per month. Some posts specified that the house was available to share with gay men or women in their 20s. Usually, the users preferred someone who did not work from home, to “avoid overcrowding” in the house share.

A woman named Ciara, who is a member of an LGBT+ housing group in Cork, said she “exclusively” found rooms she’s lived in through the page or through close mutual friends.

“I’m a lesbian and I don’t want to live with someone who’s going to have a problem with that. It’s just easier to avoid that from the get-go and make sure you’re living with other gay people or else somewhere that’s at least gay friendly.”

To enter these private groups, users are often required to answer a series of questions about their identity, followed by screening of their social media profiles to verify the information. An admin of one Facebook page, who did not want to be named, explained that it was “important to vet people coming into the group, first and foremost to prevent scammers from entering and advertising fake properties” but also to ensure “people are who they say they are”.

“People want to live with people similar to them in terms of work schedules or social lives. If you’re working at the office Monday to Friday, nine to five, you often don’t want to live with someone who’s working odd hours in a bar and stumbling in at all hours,” the admin said. “The same goes for the opposite. If you want a party house, you say that, and then anyone wanting to live there is in agreement about the environment they’ll be living in. It prevents problems and arguments about that kind of thing down the line.”

Other groups available on social media include “rooms for UCD students” which advertised properties near Belfield in Dublin 4, and “rooms for TCD students” which advertised rooms near the city centre, usually at less than €700 per month.

Finding somewhere affordable to rent is still “very difficult” around the country, Conor Doran (25) says, but he has found that social media and personal networks are invaluable. After starting a new job in software development in Roscrea, Co Tipperary in late 2021, Doran was commuting a daily 120km journey to work from Wexford, where he is originally from.

“Unfortunately, it’s near-impossible to get affordable accommodation there in September with college starting back. But as I was travelling through Birr, it hit me that I recognised the place because dad and I had been there before visiting one of his friends,” he said. “I got his number from dad and gave him a buzz. He said he’d make a few calls and get back to me. Literally the next day he said his nephew, who was about my age and into all the same things as me, had a house and a spare room.”

Doran paid “fair rent” for “a huge ensuite room with a double bed” in the two-bedroom house. I’m the past, he has found “you can get cheaper places” through social media, but it can be more difficult for people who are moving locations, whether that’s county to county, or to Ireland from abroad.

Some turn to social media pages that advertise accommodation for people of a specific nationality, such as Brazilians and Polish. One page, “Accommodation for Indians in Dublin” is a private group on Facebook that has more than 16,000 members. A statement on the page says that the admin created it because they “faced a lot of difficulties to find accommodation in Dublin”.

“I created this group so that no other Indian faces the same problems. Here you can find shared rooms, flats or houses advertised by Indians so that you won’t feel alone in Ireland,” it says. The page had 576 posts in the previous month, some of which were rooms being advertised, others tips about renting in the city, how to avoid scammers, or biographies posted by people hoping to attract offers of accommodation via private messaging.

When Martin Baldassare (25) moved to Dublin from Milan, Italy for a new job in marketing, he “noticed that many people, instead of using Daft or Facebook, were posting rentals on their Instagram stories”.

“By answering a couple of those and having recommendations from mutual friends, I was offered a room,” he says, though it took him three months to find “permanent accommodation at a reasonable price” due to having a smaller network than people from Ireland.

“Now I feel very lucky and happy to have found such a great double bedroom in Raheny. I share the gaff with three other people. Everyone has his own double bedroom. The price is completely reasonable for the house,” he says.

“It’s easier to find a place on social media if you have the right network of people that will keep an eye on potential free rooms. Two of the four places I changed in three months here, I found through my working network and social media. On the other hand, Facebook is full of scams, and I would not recommend to anyone to look for a place on Facebook groups but through mutual friends on Instagram.”