Who do we think we are?’ – The Irish Times
“Honestly, it’s been an absolute nightmare,” says a young German woman trying to find a place to rent in Ireland.
Amelie Schneider (20) from Düsseldorf is studying Business Administration at Griffith College, Dublin, as part of her International Hotel Management course. After months of searching, she and two of her colleagues secured a flat in Phibsborough, until December, but at a high cost – €1,800 per month per person. “At least we won’t be homeless — for now,” she said.
With vague last minute deals on the couch, the whole experience was a very stressful start to what should be a very enjoyable adventure.
“It gave me so much anxiety about coming to Dublin. I felt really pressured and felt like I wasn’t wanted here,” Schneider says. Referring to the scenes on social media of “hundreds of people lining up outside apartments to see them,” she adds, “it’s crazy, to be honest. The idea scared me.”
She and her friends are paying almost €2,000 a month on top of what the three had planned together. “I sent over 250 applications, I applied to all student accommodation in Dublin and the outskirts as well,” she says. “I used contacts from my parents, from my professors at university, from business partners, but no one seemed to know anyone who could take me in.”
Although she offered to pay the rent for the whole year up front and had “good references” and even bank statements for herself and her parents showing that she could pay the rent for the year, “still no answers”.
Housing is “much cheaper” in Germany than in Ireland, says Schneider, “depending on which city you live in”. She cites a two-bedroom apartment in Düsseldorf with a living room and large kitchen “and even a balcony” for €1,500 a month.
It’s been bad for my relationship with my parents, and their relationship with me, the kind of being so home
— Lauren Bailey
The severe shortage of properties to rent too got a newly graduated secondary school teacher to tell her future headmaster that she had secured accommodation before signing the contract for her new teaching job in South Dublin last July when it was not the case. Luckily, before taking the job, and after a four week struggle, Lauren Bailey (26), from a rural area just outside Waterford city, found a double en-suite bedroom in a roommate with three other people, also on the south side, for just under €850 per month.
As a master’s student in education, and lately as a newly graduated teacher, she spent her last two summers at home with her unemployed parents, which brought its own strains. “It’s been bad for my relationship with my parents and their relationship with me, to be home so much,” she says. “Yeah, like, it’s unnatural and I think it’s just bad for everyone’s mental health and relationships at this point.”
Lauren and her boyfriend, a software developer, had their names on a waiting list to rent an apartment in a housing estate in Cabra, which is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023. Lauren’s boyfriend was told by e -email that they should bring €2,000 to the site as a deposit to secure their place on the waiting list.
In her former home near Phibsborough, her landlord rented to seven people and demanded that the monthly rent for all tenants combined, which Lauren calculates to be over £5,000 in cash, be left in a drawer in the property for the night ready for collection the next day. She herself had to make four different ATM withdrawals in two days to clear her rent, which made her feel “really unsafe” walking around the city with such a large sum of money.
Last year, for the first four weeks of her teaching placement in Glasnevin, she was forced to stay in a B&B as she could not find rental accommodation.
“Almost all my friends from Waterford have emigrated, partly because of lack of housing and high rents,” she says. Saving a down payment to buy a house will be difficult, she adds. “It’s so depressing to know that you’re paying someone else’s mortgage every month.”
She believes that there must be better employment options for young people in rural areas and that hedge funds must be prevented from acquiring too much property. “Not everyone in rural Ireland wants to work in Dublin, it’s just that there are no other jobs,” she says. “They just need to build more.”
A young woman from Punjab, India, who lives in owner-occupied accommodation in Dublin says she was the subject of disparaging remarks from her landlady.
“‘You may be a spoiled girl in India, but it won’t work here in Ireland, you’ll have to wash my utensils’, that’s what she told me, even though I’m a vegetarian and she eat non-vegetarian.” explains the woman, whom The Irish Times does not identify for legal reasons. “I told her that for religious reasons I would not touch non-vegetarian utensils, but she expected that let me touch them.”
A masters student and part-time retail worker who arrived in Ireland in April, she previously lived in Smithfield, which was also a sublet, but with no formal contract she had to move abruptly. She has been looking for new accommodation near the city center since the beginning of July.
The woman moved into her current accommodation, a small room, in August, and pays €550 a month in cash, which includes gas and electricity bills. However, relations with her landlady have deteriorated recently, especially when her brother came to stay for a period of two weeks, for which she paid extra. Dissatisfied with the increased time she and her brother were spending in the kitchen, her landlady told her she would have to leave the kitchen after 15 or 20 minutes. “It was not possible”, she says because “usually Indian dishes, it takes time, 30 or 50 minutes”.
The owners think they are very powerful but they do not realize that they are living off the money of immigrants
— Indian national
Her landlady then told her that she would have to leave the house and that she would not get her deposit back.
“The landlords think they’re very powerful but they don’t realize they’re living off immigrant money,” she says, and recounts how a week or two after paying her rent, her landlady asks her “30 or 40 € for his groceries”. purchases”.
She adds, “My budget is around €600 but places in town are out of my budget, even for sharing. It is very difficult to obtain non-owner occupied housing.
Friends of hers have experienced similar problems. One is a girl from Mexico attending an English school, which also provided her with accommodation and her daily meals. However, each of these consists only of milk, cornflakes and scrambled eggs and she is not allowed to cook for herself, she said.
At the start of August, Karo Egbamuno (22), a marketing executive at the Fitzsimons Hotel, Temple Bar and a part-time student, moved into an ensuite double room, in a six-person flatshare in Rathcoole, for €800 a month, after a search “hectic” two-month period involving “countless” emails. She admits to having “big regrets” to have come to Dublin. “I still have no security, no stability,” she says.
Rose-Mary (known as Rosie) McCann is administrator of the Rent in Dublin Facebook page which has over 97,000 members. She has been renting since returning from London.
“We have all these students coming from abroad, and you see it in the applications, they’re looking for a room and they’ve rightly bid €500 for a room,” she says. “And you have to keep coming in and saying sorry. It’s almost embarrassing as an Irishman to have to say that a bed costs €1,550.
She adds exasperated: “Who do we think we are?”
She notes that the critical shortage of residential properties for rent is a national problem. “Galway, Limerick, Cork, all the other cities are in crisis”
The stories of hardship she encountered had a lasting effect on her.
“We’ve been contacted by people who were desperately, desperately looking and I get asked almost every day, ‘can you help, can you help?’ And no, I can’t, unfortunately. And that puts me in a difficult situation because I want to help,” she says.
“As a citizen, I think it’s disgusting the way we treat everyone and it’s not just one category of people who are affected. It’s everyone in the same boat. I have a PM [private message on Facebook] after PM begging me to help them.
She notes that the critical shortage of residential properties for rent is a national problem. “Galway, Limerick, Cork, all the other cities are in crisis.”
McCann wonders what it will take for the government to “wake up” to the situation, given the growing number of people affected. “It’s not just the people who live at home with mom and dad, it’s not just the paid nurses, sorry; it is at all levels.