Housing Crisis

'It's quite demoralising': Dozens queue for over an hour to view three-bed rental in Dublin

People who attended the viewing said they faced a wait of over an hour to even get into the house.

PROSPECTIVE TENANTS AT a house viewing in Dublin last night have expressed their frustration with the rental market after they waited over an hour with dozens of other people just to see the property.

Conor Finn, who planned to attend the viewing in Drumcondra last night, shared a photo of the queue outside the property at 8.44pm. Dozens of people waiting to get into the property can be seen in the image. 

In a video posted by Finn at 9.30pm, at least 50 people could be seen still queuing to view the property. Finn said he had left the queue “after no real movement or chance of viewing the house”.

A number of other hopeful tenants, including Ben O’Donnell also shared images and footage of the queue:

O’Donnell told The Journal that he had arrived early for the viewing, which was due to start at 8.30pm and by 8pm “there were already 100 to 120 people there, conservatively”. 

“There were more people who came along but when they saw the queue decided to leave,” he said. “I can’t understand why the letting agency invited so many people.”

O’Donnell said he finally made it into the house at around 9.15pm and estimates that there were still 50 people in the queue behind him. 

The rent on the three-bed property is €1,850, which O’Donnell said may explain the high level of interest because he believes it is “under-priced for the current market” and in a good location.

He is not optimistic about his chances of getting the house.

“With the sheer volume of people I have maybe a 1% chance, it’s not like some viewings where there are ten or 15 people and they might remember you because you can chat personally with the landlord or estate agent; no one could make an impression,” he said.

“I was saying to my friend on the way out ‘make sure to look him in the eye and shake his hand’, anything to stand out a bit, but I wouldn’t be resting too much hope on it.”

He has been looking for a property to move into for a month-and-a-half without any luck and said he will need to find somewhere in the next two weeks. 

“It’s quite demoralising in the long-term, even if you can find somewhere you can just about get by with half your take-home salary gone straight away on rent,” he said.

“How is that going to change in the next seven to eight years when, God willing, we might have a family – how will we even afford it on two salaries? I have a contract to be a trainee solicitor and you’d think that’s a good profession to get by on but I’m not so sure about that anymore.”

Another person who attended the viewing told The Journal they also made it inside the house after queuing for over an hour. 

“I was amazed at the amount of people who had been called… [there were] more than 100 people,” he said. 

“I’ve been in similar situations in the past as well. I arrived as a student in 2019 in Cork and that time too I witnessed many viewings where there were more than 100 people. People didn’t give up and go home as the situation on the ground is so bad.”

He said in the current climate, even getting a viewing is “a miracle”. 

“It’s so stressful,” he said. “The rents are unimaginable and nowhere near what you get paid.”

The latest rental report from property listings website found advertised rents for homes were 12.6% higher between April and June this year than they were in the same three-month period in 2021. It also found that on 1 August there were just 716 homes available to rent across the country and fewer than 300 were available in Dublin.

Responding to Conor Finn’s first tweet about the queue, former TD Billy Timmins questioned whether it was real.

“Am a bit of a doubtful Thomas so would like the address, agent and date time [sic] to authenticate. Thanks,” he wrote. 

Speaking to The Journal, Timmins said he is “well aware of the difficulties with regards to rental property”.

“I have young family members myself who are students and work in Dublin and it’s a continuous battle to get accommodation,” he said.

Timmins said he had spent weeks himself looking at rental properties for his own children but had never seen such an “unacceptable” situation. 

Letting agent Michael Carr told The Journal that the scenes witnessed at the viewing yesterday were “a direct reflection of what’s happening in the moment with the property market”.

Carr said he “took no pleasure” in queuing up 150 people for the viewing, but said he had heard from tenants that they often did not receive responses when they expressed interest in rentals and he wanted to give people a chance.

“I have my own company that I built from scratch and I was going as fast as I could, conducting myself professionally and was walking up and down the queue to try to keep people’s spirits up,” he said.

“There were people coming from as far away as Wexford to see it and they appreciated that they actually got a response. There are about 300 emails for that particular property that are still unanswered.”

Carr said he expects to notify the successful tenants by the end of this week and confirmed that the rent had not increased from the advertised rate.
He said he sympathises with tenants as he is aware of the difficulties in the market at the moment. Carr said it is time for everyone involved in the sector to “sit down around a table and sort it out”.

A top priority, he said, should be ensuring private landlords can pay a lower rate of tax so they have parity with vulture funds that own numerous properties.

“It’s a shame what’s happening because everyone in Ireland deserves a home,” he said.

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