The rental market
By Krystle Higgins
MOULDY walls, Arctic winds sweeping through your room, creaking beds and awkward exchanges with someone called ‘Finto’ wearing a pink cowboy hat, who crashed on your sofa one Tuesday night at the behest of your odd housemate – who never cleans the dishes.
What I am speaking of is the joyous rapture of the rental market.
But specifically, that experience of renting in your early to mid-twenties in the years following college or school when you’re grappling with your first ‘grown-up’ job – depending on when you decided to bid adieu to the education system. But even more specifically than that, it’s the sort of experience, which, at the right age – feels like a character-building rite of passage.
The problem at the minute, however, is that this widely accepted period of hellish accommodation which many of us have experienced and most certainly came to expect in our twenties (depending on your earnings and, let’s face it, family background) has extended for many into their 30s, 40s and beyond.
Type in ‘Why are landlords…..’ into Google and an automated search list starting with ‘Why are landlords so greedy’ is followed by another handful of less than flattering ones: Why are landlords so bad, so hated, so rude, so cheap and such scumbags?!
Those scratching their heads as to: why landlords don’t like pets and why they inconveniently decide to sell-up are the kindest questions thrust upon the internet by far – and all by tenants, hell-bent on understanding the inner workings of their ‘cruel overlord’.
I can remember imploring with ‘mother internet’ for guidance on ways to convince a particularly Dickensian landlord I had in Dublin, who had point-blank refused to accept there was anything wrong with a bed which bizarrely had nails piercing through my paper-thin mattress. After many grovelling emails from me, met with some veiled – but more often, blatant – threats of eviction I was eventually treated to a new mattress and rickety bed-frame. My faith in humanity temporarily restored.
But many people, and for a multitude of reasons, really cannot face these difficult exchanges – be it due to hectic schedules, juggling work and children, a learning disability, anxiety or mental health reasons.
It’s important at this point to add that I know and have met plenty of decent and kind landlords. However, the latest proposition to introduce a set of standards by which local landlords must comply with could put an end to much stress and misery. Although, with plusher surrounding, may come more ‘Finto’ chats.