COMMENT: Dear Dublin: An open letter from a wannabe renter


Dear Dublin, 

We get on alright you and me, don't we? We've known each other intimately for the guts of five years and honestly, I couldn't picture being anywhere else but you. 

I've traipsed across your complex cacophony of bridges over the beautiful (albeit trolley-filled) waters of your Liffey on many the night out.

I've learned how to navigate your public transport system, and I've even been robbed on the Luas – twice!

I've even been stopped by tourists and asked for recommendations or directions, and to my very own surprise, been able to answer them with ease.


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Maybe these things don't necessarily make me a city slicker, but I do cherish our relationship because you are able to give me things my own county can't – my dream job most specifically, but also an amazing array of opportunities. 

But there's something we need to discuss and we need to discuss it pretty urgently, because if we don't have a chat about it soon, there's a major chance my eye will stand wandering to cities farther afield.

Cities like London, where a one-bedroom flat in Dalston is officially cheaper than anything I've seen on lately.


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If I see one more advertisement advising me to share a triple bunk bed room with two men (females only) for nine hundred euro, I'll scream. 

Don't get me started on those Facebook pages, where up to 40,000 wannabe Dubliners flock every single day to envelop anyone with an overpriced shed for rent with a furious snowstorm of 'PM'd' 'PM'd' PM'd.'

You have all the jobs a budding graduate could want, but seemingly nowhere to store your ever-growing workforce.

We live, bumping shoulders, in back-to-back residential sprawls and cramped apartments, praying to land in an home that's at least a minimum one hour commute from work. 

I hear words on the radio like normalisation recovery, vacant property tax and developers dream, and yet see no more properties on the market from one week to the next. 


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Most weeks when I put my 'max' affordability into a rental website, I see those three tragic words- 'no results found.'

Occasionally, there are some available spaces in my price range. Car parking spaces, that is.

People in Ballsbridge and Blackrock renting out their extra car parking space for the same amount of cash that once would have gotten me a place to lay my head .

The days there are properties in my price range, how my heart soars. But unsurprisingly, it quickly sinks again when I see that the kitchen is so small that the toaster is kept in the bathroom, or that the home is only available Sunday night through to Friday, after which you must vacate the property to make room for the landlord's child, home from their countryside college. 

Once, I rang a property in Stonybatter to be told that the landlord's rules were no parties, no shoes inside and no using the kitchen, which was kept locked.

But that's okay, one of the tenants told me, she had just bought a microwave for her bedroom! 

Realistically, most people can afford to live in Dublin. 

It's just that after rent, they're left with quite literally nothing with which to live their lives, nourish their bodies and enjoy their time in you, the most vibrant of Irish cosmopolitan utopias. 

When I was a student, it was impossible to find houses, as sub text on housing descriptions read 'professionals only -no students.' How I longed to get into the working world and have my pick of Dublin's properties. 

Now it's 'professionals only – minimum five years experience. Minimum four excellent references. Three copies of your current employment contract needed.'

Don't forget your PPS number, your Junior Cert results, the details of your recent smear test and a Rumplestilskin-esque deed to the soul of your first born. 


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Don't get me started on the shady landlords, the evil overlords who maintain control over their minute property universe through a combination of financial extortion and backhanded dealings. 

From craigslist ads offering discounted rents to women in exchange for sex with seedy landlords, to the almost as offensive demand for a deposit, first two months rent and last months rent up front.

Dublin, I love you, but please get your act together or this may be a break up letter. 

I feel that I want you a hell of a lot more than you want me.

Or maybe you do want me, but you just expect me to live in a four-person occupied studio apartment for €400.

Oh, and that's per week. 

Well hello there!
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