It is said, that everyone has to make their own experiences, but I do not really agree with this. I think I can help others when I share mine, good and bad ones.
My first accommodation was in a tiny, very cold room in Clonsilla, Dublin 15. The room was located above the stairs and the hall in a two-story detached house. Energy is very expensive in Ireland and the houses had no isolation at that time (since 2010 houses must have isolation by the law) and therefore the owners and also tenants do not often heat the stairwell. When I talked to my landlady about freezing at night and not being able to sleep (I actually was wearing full clothes including my winter coat even I used a warm cover), she replied, that she must be cold because otherwise she would not wake up in the morning. After many weeks, she bought a heating pad for my bed, but by then I had already found another place to live. The heating pad might have helped me sleep, but waking up and then going into a totally cold bathroom is not my thing either. Even the kitchen did not heat up until I turned on the heat, when I came down for breakfast. Maybe I could have put up with it, but on top of that, the landlady’s brother also lived in the house and he liked to party EVERY weekend! Sometimes he left first, but always came home at last at midnight with his friends, of whom he had a lot. In the name of honesty, it was mostly him I heard, when he had the music at full volume and he sang to it (at least in the beginning, as the hours went by and he became more and more affected by beer and other alcoholic drinks, it turned into a screaming). However, that did not end there. What would not be friends if you were not with them a lot of time. Though they did not go home so early, often not until Sunday morning – between 11am and 12pm. I could not sleep a whole night in this house, several nights not at all!
In this situation, I was happy, when a female colleague offered a vacant room in Castleknock, Dublin 15. “In our house there is a room available” something like that she had been writing, when she offered the room, but nothing about having to share the costs for the whole house incl. vacant rooms. You always pay the rent plus other fees for electricity, gas etc, but I did not expect to have to pay for a vacant room. I absolutely did not know anything about this way of renting a home. Before I moved in, just before Christmas 2007, I asked more than twice if the room did not cost more than 400 € / month and she affirmed it. I also asked, if there was a contract and she also confirmed, but my colleague did not show me the agreement until I had lived there for four weeks even I asked for it for several times. I think, she expected, that I would sign the agreement without having read it. I’m not as inexperienced as she must have thought (despite my age, as can be seen) or to put it bluntly: I’m not as stupid as I seem to look. When my colleague held the agreement in front of my nose, the owner of the house was present and she said, that I could read the agreement in peace and then decide if I wanted to sign. When I did not sign the agreement, however, my colleague became angry and demanded that I take contact to the owner of the house, because she had not heard from her even though she had previously promised. I did, but before the owner could give an answer, my colleague began to oppose me and behaved very badly towards me. I’m not going to describe everything she came up with, because none would believe me that an adult could act like she did. Anyway, at our job, many people believed more in her lies than in the little part of the truth, I told. (She did it all to keep the deposit, but I have got it back in the meantime.) She was ruining my vacation days with my son and his girlfriend (they were visiting me here in Dublin in February 2008) and she also lied to me, though I was packing my things and moving out to another colleague who gave me a temporary home.
My son and his girl friend stayed over at the B&B, I had been living during the first two weeks in Dublin. I had rented the room in my name and paid one month rent. In addition to that, I also had most of my belongings there as well as I had told the owner, that I will be on holidays for a week and come back soon. I do not know, what the owner was thinking, anyway, when I returned to the B&B he told me, that he was wondering why I did not use the room and that he just was thinking to take care of my belongings and rent it out to another person. That surprised me, of course a lot and I reminded him about, that I had told him, that I will be on holidays for a week. He did not remember that. Though, back at this B&B I was looking for another room to rent again.
In March 2008 I found a very nice room to rent including access to kitchen, living room and a private, warm bathroom in a warm and cozy 3-room apartment. My new address was in Tyrellstown, Dublin 15. At the start, most of the time, I had the common areas all alone, only on the weekends and during the owner’s holidays I had to share the common areas with him, a Portugues psychologist who worked in Galway. I had a decent rent and he did not ask for a deposit, which otherwise is common here. He did not even want the first rent in cash on the day of moving in, but rather waited a few days and got it deposited on his account. He asked me, if he can turn off the heat when he thought it was too hot and if he should turn on the heat when he started to freeze. He liked, that I am proper and clean and also told me that. Most of the time, I decided for myself how I want to have it: When and if I wanted to turn on the heat, if I wanted to watch widescreen TV with more than 100 programs, if I wanted to watch DVDs etc. I also had neighbors, who welcomed me and I lived in a quiet and pleasant area with walking distance to work. By bus I could easily go to work in the morning, go to Dublin city center and sometimes it was also easy to get to the nearest shopping center (with the library) and home again, depending on the timetable. However, the buses generally did not run to Blanchardstown and the shopping center as often as I would have liked. Food and other important necessities I could buy five minutes from my home, where I also found two modern polyclinics and two equally modern dental surgeries. This accommodation felt like a dream and I waited a long time for the bubble to burst. It became less exciting after a while, when the psychologist worked less and had more often friends at home.
When I applied for another accommodation, because me contract was ending soon and for a chance to find a new job, I looked for accommodation in Dublin City Center (Dublin 1 and Dublin 2) and gathered new experiences. I also checked the nearby areas for safety reasons. I came to the conclusion that the prices are about the same, whereever you will rent. I even found cheaper apartments in the City center than in the suburbs, but it differs a lot in what you get for your money. In Dublin 15 you can get quite spacious 2rok (one bedroom apartments) for between 1000 € and 1200 €/month. In Dublin City you get smaller apartments, called studios (where there only is one room with all together: kitchen-, bed- and livingarea) for that price. Both of the studios, I was looking at, were stale and one even had moldy bed cushions. The caretaker, who showed me this apartment, agreed, that the cushions had to be replaced, but to show such an apartment at all, I thought, was a sign, that he did not care. I also was in two places, where I had made an appointment for, but neither the landlord nor a caretaker showed up.
Then I looked at a tiny cottage in Dublin 1, sandwiched in a small ugly alley, The Richmond Cottages, but very close to a major street. I was there quite early and had to wait for a while. In the meantime, I found out, that the windows and the door were new, which was a good sign, of course. Fortunately, the broker also arrived a little earlier than we had agreed. I was the only applicant at that time and he let me take a look at once at the place. Immediately I fell in love with this place. The house was actually recently completely renovated. None had lived there since the renovation. The kitchen was delicious and had, which is also quite rare in the houses and apartments here, refrigerators and freezers. In general, there is only a refrigerator with a freezer compartment. The bathroom was as delicious as the kitchen and there was really central heating in the house. Many apartments in the city have direct-acting electrical elements, but the landlords often declare it as central heating. There is a bathtub with a power shower, which works electrically and is therefore also working without the need to turn on the central heating. The beds seemed to be of the best quality and in the living room was the obligatory sofa set in leather, but it looked comfortable and inviting. Even though the house was sandwiched in the small alley, it was bright inside. I had money for the deposit with me, of course, although not a whole month’s rent, but the amount satisfied the broker. Before anyone else had time to look at the apartment, I had secured it for my son Samuel and me.
I rented the accommodation together with Samuel, who is my youngest son, because he had got a job at IBM here in Dublin. We both signed the contract and therefore be both were responsible for the entire rent etc, but it is something completely different to share an accommodation with such a close relative than with complete strangers.
The cottage was situated in the middle of Dublin city. We have had five minutes to the train station, the tram stop and also the bus station for the overland buses. It took five or at most ten minutes to O´Conell Street, where most of the city buses have their stops and from where the airport bus also leaves. In addition to that, it gave every opportunity to get a job in other parts of Dublin than in the north, where I work now. The employers here do not like if their employees live too far away from the workplace and most jobs are in the south of Dublin and in Swords (which is north of the airport). Within an hour (for the big city a short travel time) one could go to the suburbs in all four directions. My son could get rides for free with IBM’s own bus service, even it takes three quarters of an hour to get to work, but then it was evened out by the opportunity to participate in full-day tourist trips and to be able to go to the pubs in town without having to spend money on bus rides (which does not go so often at night and they also are more expensive during late hours) or taxi. The contract for the apartment was for one year, the usual length here in Dublin. If the owner does not need the house for himself, after that year, one has the right to rent for at least another 2,5 years, if wanted. To get the deposit back, we have to stay all of the contract period and, of course, pay the rent in time and take good care of the cottage, but we had no problem with that.
If you think it helps to pay a deposit to get the accommodation you have looked at and get it in the condition you saw it, you should not be too sure about it, in any case not here in Dublin. When an apartment/cottage/house is renovated and you are the first tenant after the renovation, you think that it is clean and nice when you move in and, since you rent furnished here, the furniture is new and intact. However, a lot can happen along the way. During the two weeks I waited to move in, due to that my son was arriving at the end of the month of May 2008 and because of my notice period for the room I rented before, a lot happened in the cottage I had chosen, but not to our advantage. Neither the heat nor the shower was working – there were a lot of loose cords for the plug cabinet, some are for the shower, because it is powered by electricity as I wrote before. There was hardly anything there that was intact and clean. I had not been able to find out if the gas for the heat was switched on during the first week, but at least I contacted the gas company myself (the broker said he would do it, but did not) to find out, how it works here. We were really shocked, both Samuel and I, when we entered the cottage. I was going to show him proudly, how nice it is, when I discovered, that someone must have been using the cottage, partying and destroying a lot of things, for example the sofa group in leather. It was so dirty, that nobody won’t to sit in it and also broken in places. There are brands that appear to be burned with cigarettes and others that may have been made with charcoal from the fireplace. It also seems like one had taken charcoal from the fireplace to black paint the entire sofa. A sofa that was eggshell colored from the beginning.
I had decided to rent the cottage especially because of the new and fresh kitchen. There was nothing burnt in the oven and the stove has a ceramic hob that was brand new and clean. So were the built-in cabinets in wood. When we moved in the oven was very greasy and burnt, two cooking places on the ceramic hob destroyed and the cabinets also greasy. The other rooms were not better. In the fireplace in the dining room is a cardboard box at the top and at least a rubber glove at the bottom. I did not dare to remove any of them before the landlady had taken a look at the mess. I guess there is a lot of dirt in the box and that the rubber glove is stuck by the heat after an open fire. The new blinds in wood are also not in the best condition, they also lack an opening/closing pin and a closing strip on the upper edge. The appliance for gas heating had a broken control and the refrigerator and freezer were very shaky and dirty inside.
Upstairs were the two bedrooms, one very small and one large, as well as the bathroom. In the small bedroom, only a lampshade is needed for the ceiling lamp. In the name of honesty, I do not remember if there was one, when I looked at the cottage for the first time. In the master bedroom there were two nice wardrobes, one of them with three drawers. Where two of the drawers should be, the gap is empty and the third drawer is very dusty inside. The clothe rail is not stuck into the other wardrobe and in the fixed wardrobe there are some things, that someone seemed to have forgotten there. The bathroom did not even have a mirror, but the worst thing was, that the shower did not work.
I discovered some defects before we signed the lease and told the broker about this. He asked us to write down, all what was defect and email him. Done as said, but then the broker got angry with us, because my list looked like a diary, as he told us. I also had documented everything by taking photos. He added, that I have been too careful. I was thinking about, when we will move out one day, it is certainly that the landlady, who is careful, will tell me to replace things, which are defect and I do not intend to replace something that was broken or did not exist when we moved in. I have turned to the tenants’ association, but it takes such a long time before they respond, even if they generally are good at helping tenants. Therefore, I also have written to a big Dublin newspaper and hope they want to take up our case, because we really need help and that fast. By the way, the newspaper did not care about it. They did not show any interest in it and even never answered our email.
Maybe the Irish are not so bad after all and rotten eggs are found among all peoples. Our little house is being transformed into a dollhouse, albeit a used one. When we finally met the landlady, an attractive woman of my age, who has raised seven children by her own and run her own business, it was great to talk to her. She took the time a few days later to talk in peace and quiet with us. My son Samuel, persuaded her to lower the rent by 100 Euros (approx. SEK 920) by kindly asking with reference to the fact that the area is not the best – others say so anyway. We ourselves have not noticed any of it yet. This was preceded in itself by his question a few days earlier if we would lose the deposit if we were to move again because he did not like the cottage and he told me, that it was too far from his workplace. Our landlady was so interested in having us as tenants for a whole year that she, as I already wrote, lowered the rent and additionally promised us a lot of things.
In the meantime, I have got a nice, albeit used, chest of drawers instead of the wardrobe with the broken drawers. I still have a closet, so the bedroom is perfect now. We have also got a kitchen cabinet that does very well in the dining room. In addition to that, she has replaced tables and chairs, so now it almost feels like home. Samuel will get a shelf in his room, the heat will be fixed, of course and the microwave, too and we will even get a TV, albeit a small one. The icing on the cake is the curtain rails, so we can make it really cozy. It provides both heat and it echoes less. I promised her to hang our own curtains. She was probably glad, that we did not demand curtains from her, because the places, I have lived in before, all had curtains that the landlord was responsible for. At the same time, it feels more like a real home when one has the possibility to top up with own stuff and curtains are easy to take on the flight.
She also had told us, that she had been cleaning the little house the night before we moved in and the sofa had been dry cleaned, but I do not give much for that – or are the Irish really that bad at cleaning, or she at least? Now I just had to ask her, how to wash the windows upstairs from the outside. We have a standard lease and this stipulates that the windows must be cleaned four times a year, but I do not think she can say a lot, if we do not clean them so carefully, because they were guaranteed not new washed from the outside, when we moved in.
Our home became a home, almost like a doll’s house, but a secondhand one. By the way, we never were able to watch TV or get wi-fi. There was no Internet provided in our immediate vicinity. I bought a suscription for my smartphone instead. Unfortunately, I had very bad reception. We also had problems with the heating for a long time, because it worked with a a gas meter, which only could be used with an old, special coin. One of them, was provided by the landlady. One time, when it was really cold, I dropped it accidentally and could not find it. Finally the landlady visited me and helped me to look for it. She found it, but during the upcoming week she took contact with the gas company and asked for an up-to-date gas meter. The old gas meter only worked for two hours in a row, than we had to take out and put in that coin again. It never became really warm in the house. With the new gas meter all was for the better. Anyway, there was still the problem, that the subscription of the gas delivery was in the landladies name. I spoke with her and also tried by myself, contacting the gas company, to change that, but it was never done as long as we lived there. Furthermore, we never got a gas bill, but I had asked for it several times and even, when we were moving out, but when I already had moved to Germany. My last landlady did forward it to me, but also told me, that I do not need to pay that bill.
10th of October 2008 my contract with Manpower run out, because it had only been for the Xerox Ltd in Dublin 15 och the last named company had finished their relocation to cheaper countries in Europe. Therefore there were not longer that kind of jobs, as I have had, at the company. 15th of October 2008 I started working at Hewlett Packard (HP) International Bank in Leixlip, County Kildare. The first weeks I tog the train to Leixlip every workday from Dublin. It was around an hours ride, but I felt, I needed to much time going to work and back home from work. There were no longer any possibiliy to participate in any courses in Dublin. Though I was thinking about to move closer to my new work place. My son Samuel had already told me, that he would like to move closer to his work place as well. He was still working at IBM in Dublin 15 and his girlfriend was living in the next townhead to it, in Tyrellstown, even with the postal code Dublin 15. Anyway, we had the one year contract.
At the end of 2008 I moved to the countryside, much closer to my job. I was not dissatisfied in the little house we rented, although not everything was ideal. However, the events of recent weeks had made me seriously consider changing environment. These incidents were crimes, which had happened a few meters from our door. There were fatal shootings and the newspapers also reported that drug possession and other ill-treatment had worsened in the area. No wonder you get scared of the dark and also scared during the day when murders happens in the bright afternoon. My son took on the task and talked to our landlady and asked if we could move without losing our deposit and she was so kind and agreed. She told us, she should have made the contract from the beginning for six month only.
You can continue directly to “Moving to and Living in Cellbridge“, but I recommend you to read the text below before you do that, because it is important information about settling on Ireland:
If you will settle in Ireland and are looking for a room or an own apartment remember that: “House share” is available in different ways. One variation is, that you share a house. In that case you rent part of the house and become responsible for the whole house if things go wrong. There are standard agreements for this. You can often enter such a place when one of the original tenants has moved out. Then the agreement can be one or more years old and you also will be responsible for the things that the previous tenant / tenants have destroyed in addition to normal wear and tear. If you move into a room with dirty curtains, you are the one to wash them or buy new ones, there is something broken in the house, because someone before you has been careless, you also share the costs for this. Always be sure to request the agreement before you decide to move in. Read the agreement carefully. If you cannot interpret the agreement yourself, ask for help and never sign anything that you are not sure you want. Do not move in. Look for another accommodation instead. There are many rooms for rent and when the economy is going down in Ireland, there will be more and more vacancies and vacant houses and it will also be harder to find someone who wants to move in instead of you, which would be a way to shorten your notice period. The legal notice period is 28 days when you have lived in less than six months in one place and, according to the law, you do not need to have a new tenant to get your deposit back. Provided, of course, that you have paid the full rent for the period and have not destroyed anything.
The second variation is, that you are looking for a room or apartment in an owner occupied house. Usually you do not get a written contract, when you rent a room in such a place and the law does not protect you very well, because according to the law, it is not a real tenancy. It is still a bit safer, because you never rent more than your room and access to the common areas such as kitchen, bathroom and living room. You never have to worry about renting the whole house. Should there be a problem, there is still a court to turn to.
There is a third variation, but you do not come across it so often, namely that the landlord rents out rooms in a house where he does not live, but with a lease for every single bedroom with access to kitchen, bathroom and living room. I have a colleague who rents that way. Then you have full security from the law even if you would not have a written agreement, but you only need to stand for your room and if you should destroy something beyond the usual wear and tear in your room and the common areas as well.
Remember! No matter on which premisses you rent a room, you can never be sure, that you will enjoy the companionship of the others, who live in the place as well, will it be the owner or other tenants. It can also happen that you are suddenly fired or that you are simply thrown out. Both had happened to my colleagues. Therefore, choose your home with care and always be prepared to have to break up again. Learn your rights before entering this jungle! – Be careful not to fall for rogue ads. When it is written, that the landlord or similar is not in Dublin and you have to pay a deposit or the first rent and will get the key any way, that is a scam!
Rooms and houses for rent can be found at www.daft.ie
You can read about your rights and obligations at www.threshold.ie, here you also can get help if you need to interpret an agreement or should have difficulties with your accommodation. The help is for free!
There is a court only for rental matters: Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB)
and as a licensee (when the owner lives in the house): Small Claims Court.
A good site also is: www.citizensinformation.ie
May you enjoy your stay in Dublin or the rest of Ireland!