Renting in Ireland: ‘We’re at the end of our tether. It shouldn’t be this difficult’

We asked readers to share their rental stories. Here’s what they said

'You can't find a space that is below €1,500'
I live in a small room in a family home where I share a kitchen and bathroom which I got after months of research. Now I want to bring my wife here and I was searching for a single-room apartment or house. You can't find a space that is below €1,500 and even if you find one you won't get the reply to your queries. It's too hard to find a space to live and when you find one you are going to spend your whole month's pay just to rest your head somewhere. It's a well-supported scam from the Government as they keep silence on this looting. Nirmal, Dublin

'The stress of not knowing where I'm going to live this time next year is horrible'
Most viewings are being held right in the middle of a workday (11am -2pm) but we have to make it work because the better places are being offered to the potential renters within a day or two. Between €900 and €1,200 is being quoted for "studios", ie a double bed in the kitchen.

We don’t have very high expectations – just a place for my husband and I that would not cost half of our salaries. Mould, damp, places without a proper window: you name it, we saw it.

Our friends live all over Europe and most of them are renting big apartments for a maximum of €600-€700 per month (in cities, not in the countryside) or taking advantage of cost rental schemes.

Why is that such a novel concept here?

We don't want to be stuck in a rental forever, we would like to own our home because the stress of not knowing where I'm going to live this time next year is horrible. Is that too much to ask? Nora, Dublin

'Prices in commuter towns have soared in recent times'
I first moved into my rental property nine years ago. My rent was cheap at the time due to the type of property (above a business). Our rent is still quite cheap as our landlord can only increase our rent by 4 per cent every two years. However, our living circumstances are less than ideal. We have no privacy, the property is damp and as a result we have an ongoing black mould issue. I have an almost 12-year-old daughter and I'm currently pregnant, and we have been trying to move for almost two years.

We’re on HAP, and myself and my husband are both employed full-time, and we still can’t find a property that we can afford.

On average, even two-bed apartments are €1,800-€2,000 per month.

We’ve even looked at moving outside Dublin, but prices in commuter towns have soared in recent times too, and the cost of travelling to and from Dublin every day for work nearly cancels out what we’d be saving in rent.

So as it stands, my husband, myself, my daughter and my baby-to-be will have to stay where we are, in a two-bed flat in a shared house with damp and mould. On the rare occasion that we do find a property in a reasonable price range we’ve never had so much as a call-back from agents due to the volume of interest they’ve had from people willing to pay more.

We're at the end of our tethers here. We're ideal tenants, I have a spotless record, never missed rent, we've increased the property value tenfold since moving in, never caused any issues, and both have full-time, relatively well-paying jobs. It shouldn't be this difficult. Ciara*, Dublin

'Greed is all it is'
My partner and I are currently renting an over-priced apartment. A small two-bed with no storage space. We've had to store all our belongings in the en suite as we need the second bedroom for an office. The apartment itself is very poorly built with a water pump in the hotpress that makes such a loud noise every time the water is used, we've had to turn off the water mains at night.

The apartment is designed for a holiday rental and not for living. We pay €1,500 per month and it was the only place we could find when we moved back from Dublin. We’re desperately looking for a place with extra space and hopefully cheaper as we hope to start a family, but there is no way we can start saving for a house any time soon.

The average for a two- to three-bed seems to be €2,000 per month at the moment – it’s madness. Landlords should have a max of €1,000 per month they can charge – €12,000 annually is more than enough for anyone’s pocket. Greed is all it is. Something needs to change as there is no way this Government is getting my vote.

To think, a couple earning close to €40,000 each is stuck in a rental hole which we cannot get out of any time soon unless we move in with our parents. We may be breaking our lease when we find a new place but our landlady told us no kids are allowed. She refused the couple before us as she saw the woman was pregnant. Other rules: no candles and no drying clothes – only use the dryer. Come on, talk about being so far removed from reality. Similar to our politicians. Emily*, Galway city

'We are unsettled and regret leaving our happy, if expensive, home in Dublin'
We moved to Limerick from Dublin because of the cost of renting and purchasing in Dublin. We moved in August before our three kids started in school/preschool. It took more than two months to find a place; thankfully we could bunk in with in-laws but it was a stress. Hardly any family homes to rent in the whole county, it was very dispiriting. We had one poor experience of a landlord working around the rent increase limit. An ad went on Daft for a place, with only a Google Street View image of a house and contact details for the landlord. We contacted the person and he said the house was not at the location advertised, his name was not as appeared on the ad and his wife had made a mistake listing the house. We went to meet at his actual house, he offered rent at €2,000 per month, and a quick search showed an old listing two years ago of the house for rent at €1,200. We finally found a house by word of mouth. We are unsettled and regret leaving our happy, if expensive, home in Dublin. Making plans to go back. Barry, Limerick

'One of us is commuting to Dublin from as far away as Sligo'
I have been searching to rent in Dublin with two friends since September. We're all in our late 20s and have good jobs with decent pay. We all work in the city centre and so are looking for somewhere within reasonable commuting distance. We are working with a budget of €2,100 a month, or €700 each. Since September, we have applied to 145 properties in Dublin and have received viewings for only seven of these, none of which we received a reply from after our application. We are fortunate to be in a position to afford to rent in Dublin, which many of our friends with smaller budgets are struggling to do, but unless we are offered a place to rent, that is small consolation. We are now in a position where our previous lease has expired and we have all been forced to return to live in our parents' homes, with one of us commuting from as far away as Sligo. With only a deafening silence coming from the landlords and rental agencies we contact, it is becoming harder to hold on to the hope that we will find anywhere in the foreseeable future. Brian, Dublin

'God knows how anyone on a lower income can cope'
My partner and I have been looking for a place to rent in Galway for the last couple of months and it has been an extremely frustrating and depressing experience. She is stuck living in a house share with six housemates, and I have been living with my mother since I returned home from New Zealand during Covid to do a masters in Galway. We are trying to find a place together with two bedrooms as we're both working from home. When an apartment or flat is advertised we have to send off an application before we have both had a chance to read the advert, because they get a couple of hundred applications and take down the ad within an hour.

An example of the issues we have faced was a three-bedroom place in Galway that would have been perfect for us. It was listed for €1,700 a month, then re-listed for €2,500 a month a couple of hours later because they had so many applications. The fact that wages have stagnated while rents in Galway have roughly doubled since I lived in the city last is so depressing – and prices are forecast to rise by another 25 per cent. How is this ever going to add up, and we’re lucky – we have two good jobs, I have a professional graduate role and my partner works in tech for a multinational.

God knows how anyone on a lower income can cope. It feels like this country doesn't want anyone from my generation to live here, the ladder has been pulled up by those who have scrambled on to the property ladder, and exploitative landlords. It feels hopeless. There is no way that wages are going to rise enough to offset the increase in house prices and rents, and there is no way the current Government will do anything that allows them to fall. My generation will be trapped in the middle, and suffer the consequences. Alan*, Galway

'My view is that homeownership is overrated'
I am 34, I live in Dundalk with my parents and work in Dublin. I face lengthy commutes due to the level of traffic on the roads (when there are no Covid restrictions).

During one of my detours through Santry, due to the level of congestion, I thought to myself that Santry would be a nice place to live. It’s outside the city but well connected by Dublin Bus. I thought that I would be able to find an affordable place to lay my head. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The prices in Santry are extortionate. I found that the cheapest rent started at €1,750 for a one-bed apartment in Santry. I was shocked to find a one-bedroom apartment in Ballymun for €1,900 per month.

My view is that homeownership is overrated. If there were affordable rental properties, with security of tenure, then there would be less demand in the housing market. People are sick of paying more rent than a monthly mortgage repayment and have been for the last 10 years. Unfortunately, the Government’s solution to this is to allow institutional investors to “build to rent” properties for people like me. I have heard the Tánaiste respond in the Dáil that there is a shortage of one-bed apartments and we require these investors to build apartments. Unfortunately, when they do, they set rents far too high. Just look at the price of a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre, especially the dock lands.

Increased supply will not solve this problem, as the investors are the ones providing tenancies and setting rents. The investors make an absolute fortune when it comes to rental income and pay very little tax, as they use special purpose vehicles and other loopholes in our tax code, some of which have been specifically designed for them. The investor's master is the shareholder, and they are only interested in making a profit. The State should not be facilitating this behaviour and realise that the public good demands that they take a more hands-on approach when it comes to housing. This Government, and previous governments, have given far too much deference to the market and have refused to get their hands dirty. Darren, Dundalk

'We found it almost impossible at times to even secure viewings'
I spent five weeks with a friend searching for a two-bed apartment in Dublin. We are both working professionals in our 20s, with a relatively high income for our age bracket. We found it almost impossible at times to even secure viewings, due to the demand for rental properties in Dublin. Daft.ie is really the only site you can use when looking for a rental property, and because of the high demand, landlords can receive a barrage of emails in a matter of minutes. One landlord I dealt with took down their ad after five minutes, citing to me that they had received more than 50 emails in that timeframe. This was for an apartment which would cost €1,700 a month, which is now considered a bargain among Dublin renters.

When we finally got the chance to view some places, you had to be ready to commit there and then to taking the property. There is no time anymore to discuss and sleep on it as, if you do, the property will have been taken by somebody else. This is my third time looking for a rental property in Dublin in the past five years, and this was by far the most crazy and stressful.

The last time in 2018 was pretty straight forward, and there was nowhere near as much competition. The situation really is going to get worse before it gets better. Thankfully, we secured a lovely two-bedroom apartment in Drumcondra only last week, which was worth the wait. Dylan, Dublin

'I am homeless four years'
I am homeless four years. I am working full-time. I have a deposit ready but I have still not found a place to rent. Maureen, Galway

'There were agents/landlords asking for very personal information – even before a viewing'
I've been renting in Ireland for about 10 years now, in Cork and in Dublin. I also lived in Vienna for a year and in Nottingham (which were cheaper and easier to rent). The rent in Cork has doubled in the past decade, and the quality has not gone up, if anything it has gone down. I have friends in Cork suburbs who are paying €1,500 per month and afraid to report a leaking roof in case the landlord breaks the lease for "substantial refurbishment" under Part 4 tenancies.

I’m on good wages, but I won’t be able to buy for another few years because the cost of renting is eating away at the money I could be saving for a mortgage. And I’m even lucky with the amount I can save. Trying to find a new place is incredibly difficult because I know I’m not getting value for money, but I also know there will be 20 more people lining up to pay the asking rent if I push back, so I have no bargaining power when it comes to rent prices.

The last time I moved, the cost was €3,250 (first month of rent plus one month deposit, plus moving costs, plus a week’s rent of the unoccupied apartment because the landlord refused to agree to a later start date). Again, I’m lucky that I could scrape that much together (between savings and credit cards) but there’s an undue burden on tenants and a power imbalance which leaves tenants bearing the brunt of a broken market.

In the search, there were agents/landlords asking for very personal information: relationship status, PPS number, passport pictures – even before a viewing. I refused to give away this much information before seeing the property. There’s also a variation in how much is expected upfront. Usually it’s first month plus one month’s rent as deposit. But sometimes it’s two month’s rent in deposit or some arbitrary number.

In the last place I lived, we were told that a mandatory professional cleaning fee would be taken from our deposit at the end of the lease (€300), but when we arrived, the fridge was dirty, the floors were dusty, there was food still in the presses, and plates were dirty. I told the landlord that he shouldn’t use that company again.

I just moved into my place, and the landlord shortlisted two candidates before deciding who to rent to: me a single professional on a permanent contract, or a couple living together (I have no more details). Luckily I was chosen but I’m not sure why when I was up against two incomes. I’ve had Indian friends turned away from viewings or ghosted by agents (very likely racial profiling). I’ve had landlords make racist or sexist remarks while on viewings. I’ve seen “no HAP” on listings despite anti-discrimination laws.

I've been living in Cork during the pandemic, and want to return to Dublin with offices reopening next year. But every property in my price range is either smaller, lower quality, or too far from the city to be reasonable. So now I'm depending on my employer to decide to let us work from home permanently because I don't think I can afford another move unless it's into a house of my own. Katie, Cork

'We are at the mercy of landlords/letting agents who have their own set of requirements and rules'
In mid-October my landlady informed me she is intending to sell the apartment I have been renting with my two daughters for the past 11 years. Immediately, I commenced searching for a new property. Currently we are renting a two-bedroom which is very restrictive as my daughters are now grown and in college and in secondary school. I am searching on all sites with alerts scheduled on my phone when properties come available.

Also, I am on the housing list eight years. I am in receipt of HAP (housing assistance payment) too.

In my experience so far I have found that landlords and many letting agencies do not respond to you unless they want to offer a viewing opportunity to you. One property I enquired after had 500 expressions of interest to rent. I was lucky enough to get selected to view a property but following the viewing I had to chase the letting agent for the status of the rental to be told it was gone to somebody else. I had to ask for feedback as to why I wasn’t selected. I have basically had to give a CV with references from my current employer, past employer and landlady. One week later I viewed a second property, it was an open viewing which is a very belittling, embarrassing experience. Potential tenants queued out the door and down the estate, scrambling to be selected. Again, I heard nothing back from the letting agent.

We are basically at the mercy of landlords/letting agents who have their own set of requirements and rules. The rent prices are set at the maximum for most areas. One street I searched on had two properties with a difference of €500 per month in rent between them. When I asked a letting agent about the difference in rental prices, I was told that the pension companies are buying up properties and setting rental prices at the emergency HAP level. That is pushing up rents to beyond affordable for most families. Given that emergency HAP is given because tenants are essentially homeless, it defeats the purpose.

I still have not found a new place to rent. Luckily I have until April/May before I have to really get very worried. I work full-time, I study part-time and my daughters are in full-time education. Marisa, Dublin

'It's beyond disheartening'
I'm currently renting in Dublin. My situation is okay, currently paying a reasonably affordable €525 for a single room – I guess you could only call it reasonable in the context of Dublin, but I can afford it at least. It's in a large house with slightly too many people in it. In September, myself and two friends began to look for something new, a three-bedroom house or apartment, just so we could improve our lot a little bit.

It’s beyond disheartening. The vast majority of places we reach out to don’t bother responding. They are all overrun with enquiries. The few places that have got back to us tend to be far worse when viewing in person than they looked in their pictures, and even still those are unattainable, except by lottery, as at a typical viewing we will be just one group among many.

We are so lucky because we are searching for a place while we already have the security of somewhere to live. If we actually needed to find somewhere fast, we would be simply f**ked. We would be forced into accommodation that we couldn't afford, in areas which are not convenient to our work and lives. There would be no question of finding something that actually works for us. There are no options. We have spoken repeatedly about moving abroad, because of both housing and the general cost of living in Dublin. Everyday the idea becomes a little more real. John*, Dublin

'It makes no sense'
I have been renting in Dublin 8/Dublin 2 since April and have been looking for alternative accommodation since August. Every night I check daft.ie, rent.ie etc for new listings and it is impossible to get a response from landlords. I know there is so, so many people out there looking for rooms but the only ones available at the moment have extortionate rent prices. [A total of] €900 for a small room in Rialto when I'm paying €500 now to rent on Wexford Street? It makes no sense.

In the new year I'll have to consider moving back to my parents' house if I still can't find new accommodation by then. I would have to work from home indefinitely if so. Eva, Dublin

*names have been changed to protect identity

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