Once upon a time, a girl was searching for her perfect abode. She was told by a wise old man that she would need to offer the housing gods a solid bar of gold, her first-born child and the blood of five male pigs. She would also need to battle a thousand evil witches who also coveted her magical cottage. Medieval fairy-tale? More like Galway city mid-August. If you don’t rock up with your references and cash deposit in hand, you can kiss that apartment goodbye.
People bemoan the rent crisis in Dublin, where you pay a small fortune for a kitchen cum bathroom nightmare, but the reality is that it has trickled out through all of our smaller cities and towns. In Cork, the difference in two years is monumental. My rent was increased by 50 euro but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t upped again this year.
My apartment was offered as temporary host to two girls seeking refuge at the mercy of fastidious landlords. When young graduates are genuinely worried about living on the streets, it makes you wonder how did it get so bad so quickly? Back in the day, you trawled Daft.ie for the best possible deal and ruled out any place that didn’t have pictures included or a dishwasher. Nowadays you take anything you can get with a roof and four walls (and an Ethernet connection, you’re not an animal.)
Reports of open viewings are starting to sound like a scene from 300. Girls are going into nightclub bathroom mode whereas guys are puffing up every inch of chest in their attempts to shoulder into the 3-bed apartment with en suite bathrooms. It’s a dog eat dog world in the land where no pets are allowed.
There is little wonder as to why the rent crisis is at its peak today. The Celtic Tiger spawned a generation of reluctant landlords who are opting to sell their their dream homes for half their value rather than lease them out to unruly students. While it is unfair to tar everyone with the same brush, you can see why they would prefer the young family to a quartet of beer-guzzling first-years. My ex-landlady sold her house fairly sharpish after our Rag Week incident which involved broken chairs, upturned bins and a Garda callout. And we were the mild breed of student.
The advice is to be prepared. Get your references sorted, have your deposit and month’s rent ready to go and above all else, charm the pants off that landlord. Not literally of course. Unless it’s a duplex apartment with sea views; then you do what you need to do.