Apartment Hunting in Dublin
If you look over the skyline of Dublin right now you will see dozens of construction cranes working on new buildings. Of those new buildings being constructed, very few if any, are for apartments. The Irish government is doing a great job of bringing big businesses in to setup office in Ireland, by offering them almost nonexistent tax rates. Businesses are taking advance of the tax breaks and low wages they are getting in the country. The downside of all that, however, is that there are more people than places for those people to live. I could write a post on the homeless problem in Dublin, but this is about the people who are actually employed at good jobs and still can’t find a place to live.
My girlfriend and I recently received notice that we would need to move out of our current apartment. Yes, we have a lease and could fight it, but laws in Ireland tend to favor the landlords over the tenants. That is why it is okay for a landlord to ignore basic maintenance on properties, and can rent out a dump for high prices. This doesn’t really apply to us as the owners of our place are pretty decent people and the reason they need the apartment back is a good one. They have relatives who need it due to a sick child and the proximity the apartment is to a hospital. And honestly, we are in a loud neighborhood and the idea of moving to somewhere quieter would be nice.
Having lived in Dublin for four and a half years, this new place would be my 4th apartment moved into.
We began our search on Daft.ie which is the most used website for apartment hunting in Dublin. Followed up by rent.ie. The thing with apartment hunting in Dublin, is since they are so scarce landlords and property managers will setup viewings for large groups at a time rather than individual showings. This is often done while the current tenant is still living in the home. Doesn’t that sound like fun for the current occupant of the place? During the viewing anyone interested in the apartment will begin to suck up to the person renting it out in the hopes of being the lucky selected.
The property manager will ask for work references, bank statements, previous landlord referral (Also why we wanted to stay on good terms with our current landlord), employment verification, and first born child. Just kidding on the child but you get the idea. For me this is very frustrating coming from the area in the US I lived. First because I had owned my home for years, and even before that, I was a sought after tenant. I take good care of the place and I pay my bills on time. In Ireland the fact that I am a local business owner and my girlfriend works for a massive international company and we both take good care of the place isn’t enough. And often during our search we would find a place we like, say we want it, submit our information, and they would decide to give it to someone else for no reason we can understand. Usually not even bothering to tell us anything, we just don’t hear back. Of others they might want us as tenants but the apartment might be a dump, might be over priced for what it is, or might be in a terrible location. Or all of those. We looked at places with mold growing on the walls, places with paint chipping off, places that smelled, or had defective windows.
Now, if two reasonably successful people have to go through all this to find a place that is acceptable, imagine what less than successful people have to go through. Not the dirge of the earth, but people who haven’t been as lucky in life as us or followed the same career paths? People who potentially have decent jobs. It is no wonder that people in this city, with full-time employment, are stuck living in shit-hole homes, cars, or have to cram into homes with dozens of others. This is the real Ireland that I try to explain to people when they contact me wanting to live here and ask how I did it. This is the real Ireland with a government that taxes it’s people heavily, gives tax breaks to big business, and doesn’t bother to properly regulate property owners.
We are two successful people who had to create a spreadsheet in our search for apartments to track. And this is only half of them. The one we ended up getting isn’t on this list. Notice all the red. Usually for shitting overprices homes, or apartment managers that were pricks.
Life in Ireland isn’t a dreamy and romantic and many might think it is. With the heavy focus on business and high taxes for everyone else, simply finding a place to stay out of the rain that won’t give you mold poising can be a challenge.