A renter’s view: ‘If I’d known, I’d have thought hard about moving back to Dublin’

According to this renter, the most obvious difference in Ireland is the poor quality of the accommodation: the insulation, the heating, the ventilation and poor light

Here, people are being asked to pay €1,500 for places that are really sub-standard. If you pay that overseas you can be guaranteed you are moving into a well ventilated, warm, well-lit place. Photograph: Thinkstock

Here, people are being asked to pay €1,500 for places that are really sub-standard. If you pay that overseas you can be guaranteed you are moving into a well ventilated, warm, well-lit place. Photograph: Thinkstock

 

Aidan Regan works in a university in Dublin and his partner in the technology sector. Both are in their early 30s. Eighteen months ago, the couple moved home to Ireland from Germany, on the understanding that the housing market had been “resolved”.

But since returning, they have had to move more than once, a process of “bargaining, bidding and side payments” that the couple have found stressful. They are now renting a two-bedroom flat in a 19th-century house in Ranelagh, Dublin 6.

“We have lived in Cologne, Florence and Amsterdam, so have experience of renting elsewhere. The most obvious difference in Ireland is the poor quality of the accommodation: the insulation, the heating, the ventilation and poor light.

“In all those other places, if something was low quality it was low priced. Here, people are being asked to pay €1,500 for places that are really sub-standard. If you pay that overseas you can be guaranteed you are moving into a well ventilated, warm, well-lit place.”

“I disagree that the way to deal with this problem is to build even more substandard accommodation,” says Regan, a political economist. “There’s no natural or market reason rents are so high. There’s no shortage of accommodation; there’s a restriction of supply. You can solve that. There’s lots of empty accommodation, lots of places you can develop.”

“But it serves the needs of Nama, of the Government and the banks to manage the debt dynamics of the State. The rents are being kept artificially high to suit those who own property. They want to get house prices back up.”

“There are a lot of people in my situation paying high rent in the market. The new Central Bank rules make it hard to save up and get a mortgage, which is an option I would like. It’s not exactly an incentive to live here.”

“If I had known what I know now, I would have thought very hard about moving back to Dublin. On most levels I’m glad I have, but knowing that it’s almost impossible to have a good standard of living given the housing market, is something that’s impossible to ignore, particularly if you want to have a family.

In conversation with Conor Goodman

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