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Generation Rent 'We cannot sit back while people are put into bedsits'

Eoghan Murphy’s thoughts on re-introducing bedsits is another blow to those of us who are struggling, writes Adam Tyrell.

FOR FOUR OUT of the five years I have been renting, I’ve dealt with absentee landlords. Now don’t get me wrong, in college this was fantastic.

The landlord didn’t care how many people we moved into this damp, freezing, run-down red brick in Rialto (appropriately nicknamed Casa Del Goulag by all who visited). He didn’t care how many parties we had or what mess we left behind, as long as €1,500 went into his account every month and we didn’t annoy him with requests. It was paradise for a house full of performing arts students.

We didn’t care that the heat didn’t work. We didn’t care that the sash windows didn’t open. As long as we could throw wild sessions and there wasn’t some oul fart killing the buzz, we wouldn’t have noticed if there were any beds or not.

The houses were smaller and more expensive

One by one we finished college and starting working full-time. We all decided to leave “Casa Del Goulag” and find more grown up accommodation, a rite of passage in a lot of people’s lives.

My friend and I searched endlessly, but it was not the same market as three years before. The houses were smaller and more expensive. We looked in the Liberties and we found a two-bedroom place for €1,300. Even though it was half of our monthly wages, we longed for warm, dry bedrooms and decided it was worth it. Unfortunately, a young couple we lived with were not so lucky.

The pair we had lived with were in a different financial position. One was working full-time, the other was in her last year of college and working part-time. They found a “studio apartment” in Kilmainham.

On viewing the space, I guessed it had been a former bedsit with a tiny bathroom built into it when the regulations came in. It was claustrophobic, dark and depressing. I could never imagine myself being this trapped or the effect it must have on their day to day lives, living so on top of one another.

€700 a month for a box room is considered competitive

Eoghan Murphy’s thoughts on re-introducing bedsits is another blow to those of us struggling in the current housing crisis, where paying upwards of €700 a month for a box room is considered competitive. Where you are forced to live in substandard housing conditions just to save yourself money. Not only is it not good enough, it’s a dangerous slippery slope, handing even more power and money to landlords who already have a monopoly on the market.

Bedsits will allow landlords to exploit the already extortionate market by charging premium prices in the city for increasingly smaller living spaces. Again, we are looking at a short-term solution to a problem that is dramatically increasing every quarter.

In the beginning, things could be okay. You’d have enough space for a double bed, a small fridge, a cooker and maybe even a chest of drawers. But as the demand rises, deregulation will continue and the rooms will shrink… and shrink… and shrink. Until what we are left with is a single bed, a hot plate and no room for a set of drawers.

We cannot sit back while people are put into bedsits

You might think I’m being over dramatic but look where we are now. 7,699 people are homeless, including 2,777 children. Charities are working overtime and begging for change. A mother and child are sleeping in a tent outside a government building and having eggs thrown at them.

There is no point relying on the empathy and morals of the people in power because they have none to spare. It’s time to get active and demand a real solution. We cannot sit back while people are put into bedsits.

You might think bedsits are better than nothing and that may be true in the short-term. But when these cruel bedsits become the long-term, as the landlord class and the current government want, it won’t be long before they are normalised. Us renters will suffer.

Adam Tyrrell was born and raised in Dublin. He comes from a family of eight. He is an actor and you can see him perform in theatres around Dublin.

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