With rents out of control and renters struggling to find housing in Dublin, the recent news of how much rents have increased does not matter if you are struggling to pay your rent. Renters want to know when someone will hear their pleas for help with the unreasonable rents.
Rental rates for apartments in Dublin have increased 2.7% in the fourth quarter in 2015 over the third quarter in 2015, and 1.5% for houses according to the Private Residential Tenancies Board’s March 2016 report.
Speaking with The Circular, Anne Marie Caulfield, director of the PRTB said, “There are more and more people renting, with one in five households are now living in the private rented sector.”
This is why former Independent and Labour TD Eamonn Maloney is concerned about addressing the issue of rising rents in Dublin. He has been raising concern since December 2014.
“Things are out of control in Dublin for students, families, low income, and working people trying to afford their rent,” said Maloney.
The average rent in 2015 in the city of Dublin on a one bedroom apartment in Dublin is €1090 and €1,248 for a two bedroom according to Daft.ie. This makes life here in Dublin a challenge for single people and couples who are renting.
“We cannot allow rents to run free,” Maloney said.
National Association of Building Co-Operatives’ annual housing sediment survey found, ‘Dubliners spend a higher proportion of their income on rent than renters in the rest of the country – 36%.’
The survey’s results say 48% renters in Dublin are afraid of losing their home, 50% of those responding said they have difficulty finding a place to rent, and one quarter of the moves last year were due to rent increases.
The NABCO survey identified, ‘A lack of knowledge about tenancy rights continues to be a source of concern. 39% of tenants reported having no formal tenancy agreement.’
Caulfield encourages anyone who is currently renting, or considering renting, to log on to www.prtb.ie, and familiarise themselves with their rights and their responsibilities.
In their 2016 survey on housing crisis Royal London discovered, ‘28% of the people think the government should apply strict rent controls and 21% thing the red tape around building new homes should be cut.’
“Property and housing is a huge issue facing this country at the moment, and it is very much at the forefront of people’s minds,” said Head of Marketing for Royal London Joe Charles in a press release.
For renters like Ioana Dobocan who lives with her husband Christian in Dublin’s Portobello neighbourhood a solution to rising rents is need fast. Dobocan works a full time job and her husband is out of work. Both have been living in Dublin since 2011, in the same apartment. Last month their landlord increased their rent by €200 per month and this does not include utility costs, like electricity and the new water charges.
“We pay all the utilities as well,” she said. “The landlord doesn’t provide [pay] anything.”
When asked if this is rough or tough on them, Dobocan simply states, “Well we manage to live because we don’t spend money on unnecessary things.”
She thinks the idea of a rent freeze is a good idea and badly needed.
“The problem with the rent is that for what the landlords offer the payment is very high,” Dobocan says. “People need to know that it is fair to pay a decent price for what the landlords have to offer.”
Dobocan says she hopes the proposed plan will stop landlords from changing rents unpredictably so she and her husband do not have to fear losing their housing because they cannot afford the rent.
“So every time the landlord wants to go up with the rent he does that without providing us any greater comfort,” Dobocan said.
However, Dobocan feels that there needs to be rent control. “I think renting needs more attention,” she said.
“[I want to] not have to worry every half year or every one year that the landlord will put the rent double time higher,” Dobocan said.
Dobocan refers to this a safety, meaning reassurance and security that what is agreed upon in the lease agreement is the rent for the specified term of the lease.
“It will be fair for us to have the safety of what we pay [for rent],” she says.
“Maybe the proposal has to be more serious and more detailed,” Dobocan said. She does agree that the role of the PRTB should be more involved and strengthened.
She feels most of the renters in Dublin want to see landlord’s required to maintain a safe and specific condition of up keep on the rental units.
“Most of the renters in Dublin are foreigners, and most landlords abuse this because they think the foreign people don’t know the laws and they can force whatever they want,” she said.
Naoise, who did not want his last name used, is a private landlord with properties in Dublin. He said if they freeze rents you don’t make a profit.
“I’m not even making much of a profit today,” Naoise said.
Naoise questions why any governmental official would want to freeze rents now when they can’t form a government.
“They did not freeze the rents when they [the prices] were falling,” he said.
Proposing a rent freeze isn’t the solution, Naoise said. “I’m not sure it will address the problem.”
The problem is that Dublin does not have enough rental housing options available to meet up with the demand.
“It’s interesting that our survey results reveal that more people think that the solution to this lies directly with the Government than the private sector, with 32% saying the State should build more houses,” Charles said.
Charles says the housing crisis was a ‘major issue’ for many Irish voter’s in the recent general election and that the next government will be ‘faced with a big challenge’ in finding a solution.
“For many it is a priority for the Government to address this growing problem – but with no one simple answer as a solution,” said Charles.
For Dobocan and her husband, this proposal is very important to for them and they hope it becomes law. “The system should be very clear and fair for both parties,” said Dobocan.
She and her husband are not planning on moving anytime soon as they enjoy their neighbourhood.
“As long as we manage to afford living in here we will stay in here,” Dobocan said. “We will live a very peaceful normal life.”