Leaving your home and family to study in another country is extremely difficult, but finding a good place to live in Ireland is the biggest challenge, the white whale every student has to catch.
Renting a flat in Dublin requires PPS (something like a Security Number), a working pass, a bank account -with money, obviously- and a lot of patience. If you don’t have all of these, you could try your luck sharing the expenses with one or more people, often without the landlord knowing that you live there. Or maybe he knows but ignores the situation. In this case you’re taking a risk: if a conflict arises, fraud or any other kind of problem, you have no legal contract that guarantees you live there.
The most economical options in Dublin cost about 300 euros; we’re talking about paying the monthly rent of a bed in a shared room with two or more people and others in the same house. As is usually the case in other European capitals, the high renting demand in the Irish capital leads to issues such as swindling, extortionate prices and students conglomerations in little flats sharing a single bathroom.
“Many people and few houses. I heard about nine people sharing one house with a single bathroom”
What’s more, there are swindlers in the property market or scams that produce misleading or fake advertisements on the Internet promising affordale and central flats. Most of the victims are students that are not yet in the city but want to have a place to stay when they arrive.
”Paying for a flat online can be very dangerous. A lot of people are taken in when they want to book a flat on the Internet and they pay the swindlers, so they lose their money and the apartment.”
There are several options in the Irish capital for students who arrive to the city looking for a room to rent in the long or short term. The following people will explain their experiences:
It’s one of the cheapest ways to find a place to live because the price to pay is split between all tenants, as are the bills from the different services provided.
“At the moment there are a lot of people looking for houses and flats in Dublin, so most vacancies are expensive taking into account what they really are: little rooms, shared flats, etc. I found my first house after 5 days of searching and searching. I chose the first house that said “yes” because I was afraid of not finding anywhere and I only had a week to leave the student accommodation.”
Costs can vary depending on the room, as it can be shared with one or more people and prices fluctuate between 250 and 400 Euros; or you could also have a single room, which would be about 400 to 600 Euros, depending on the area.
“I shared a house with two couples and I had a single room. I paid 420 Euros per month, all expenses included. Before I arrived I had already booked a hostel in the city center, so after my arrival I started my search. It’s quite easy finding a flat if you have good references. I found it really fast, so I didn’t live in a bad flat, but I visited some horrible places.”
Not only are rooms shared, but so are communal areas and any damages that may be there before you arrive as most of flats are not new.
I lived with many people and shared a room with 4 girls. The house had just a kitchen and a bathroom. The bathroom had mould and the house wasn’t well kept nor modern.
There are people who rent a flat and then rent a room to someone else due to the high flat demand, so the original rent of a flat can shoot up to two times its price. Natasha, a Brazilian student, arrived in Dublin in November 2014 and she paid 375 Euros for a bed in a students’ residence. From then to now, she has moved 4 times and it took her 2 months to find a place in a shared room with 3 students the first time she moved.
“The boy who let us a room in the house told us that the rent of that place was about 1.200 Euros in total. However just with our room he was earning 900 Euros. People make money doing these things with houses and fats.”
Besides the outrageous prices, many flats are not in good condition or they are just kept in general order in order to rent out and get money for them.
“I lived in a place in Capel Street where the house was under the basement. It had no windows. We never knew whether it was day or night if we didn’t look at a watch or go outside. We used to share the house with three or more people and we had to hide from the owner because tenants were the ones renting us the place. It was such a disaster.”
Another option for students who want a place to stay when they arrive in Dublin -as it’s an Irish authorities’ requirement- are host families. It means that a local family gives you a room and food for an agreed price. Inga arrived in the Irish capital from Germany in April 2015. She found a room fast as she consulted an agency which found a room for her where she paid 700 Euros. Even though the process was not difficult, the experience with the host family wasn’t too good either. Inga told us this:
“My host mother used to play the piano at midnight. At night it was very cold so I caught a cold and I was ill for two weeks. My host mother complained all the time and was very talkative. She was very selfish”.
She moved to another host family after a while, which was recommended by her boss where she started working in Ireland. She paid 430 Euros in this new place and despite the fact that the house was far away from the city center, Inga had a better experience this time:
“My second room was better. I had a lot of freedom and I had a TV. My host mother was volunteering and used to rescue dogs. It was easy for me to find the room because I had some contacts.”
Paying an agency, having contacts or looking for a flat on your own is all part of the process to finding accommodation in Dublin. Europeans as well as non-Europeans share the problem of finding a flat in the Irish capital.
Frauds and high rental prices are very common amongst students that not only arrive to the Emerald Isle to deal with the cultural shock, but to also deal with the problem of finding a place and space to satisfy what is considered a basic requirement: a place to live.