Experiences of a renter or No ROOM at the INN!
The renter – that much maligned species. Looked down on by the house owner, even if in mortgage arrears. Owning your home in Ireland appears to be the ultimate goal. To rent is a NO! NO! Unfortunately, some of us have no other choice with the high deposits needed to acquire personal bricks and mortar. Yet rents are on the UP! And UP! The Landlord reigns supreme!!! The supercilious representative of the Letting Agent showing the hopeful renter around – be it a studio flat or penthouse – holds the trump card as to who will win this chance of acquiring a roof over their head. A lack of suitable accommodation prevails and demand outweighs supply. The majority of renters are, after all looking for a HOME, not somewhere just to put the head down and trash. The latter trait is where the negative reputation of the renter takes root. Yet, in Continental Europe renting is the norm rather than the exception. Long leases are De Rigueur! The tenant has rights! Speaking from experience, the following points surfaced whilst on the rental trail. Though perhaps I am too persnickety and choosy about where I live and have certain standards. But surely I am not the only one?
• Sent to view a property only to find on arrival it has already been let with the new tenant in situ
• You think you will be the only one at a viewing – twenty other hopefuls stand in line waiting for viewing
• Verbose descriptions of property which completely fail to live up to the reality
• Desperation makes one consider areas of a city or the suburbs, the impact of which only emerges later. The LONG COMMUTE. The lack of public transport. No parking space for a car
• Unless renting a house, the renter is eternally subjected to soggy washing hanging from every conceivable hook and rail – Febreze or Comfort become our best friends
• The completely ineffective overnight antique storage heaters which necessitate layers of clothes being worn the next day (in winter)
• The deposit demanded immediately – do have checkbook at the ready during the showing to even stand a chance of being the “chosen one” granted the right to rent said property. Bank references and character references should also be to hand
• If lucky – a sigh of relief! One can now settle down to the first year’s tenure. BUT all to soon, at the 11th month, the worries start all over again! Will the lease be renewed? And if so will the rent increase? And if not, will the deposit be returned? Also beware of late termination notification. A last minute decision by the landlord to sell is often used. Advice – get a friendly solicitor to fight your case. Also absolutely ascertain that the house/apartment is registered with the PRTB. A body formed to uphold the rights of the tenant
All the above, in some form or another, are part and parcel of the renter’s existence. One who has now been given a new name – the Precariat. Recognition of a sort at last! Maybe even a modicum of respectability will eventually attach itself to this much maligned, but ever increasing figure of contemporary society.