The rental market in Cork is a circus... our search goes on

As the rental market crisis continues, Eoin Quinn, from Limerick, who has been living in Cork for the past three years, gives us a personal glimpse of his ongoing search for a place to rent, having been to many viewings
The rental market in Cork is a circus... our search goes on

“You would swear that Garth Brooks was back in town with the size of some of the queues...”

AS I sit here in front of my computer flicking through, I can’t help but wonder ‘Have I already applied for this property? And if so why haven’t I heard anything back?’ Then I remember that the rental market, not only in Cork but it most parts of Ireland, is an absolute circus.

I’ve been renting in Cork now for the last three years and I must say, where I’m renting, both location and price is fantastic. I’m renting with three other young professionals and we get along 99% of the time so when we got the news the landlord was moving back in, we looked at each other and knew this could be the end of our time together. However, we got straight on the internet, typed in and began applying. Sadly, what started as a party of four has now been reduced to a crew of two and I’m not going to lie, it is tough going.

Although only two of us remain, we’re determined to stick together. We could look at going our separate ways and looking into house shares, but not only is there a lack of rooms available, it’s a complete and utter gamble who you’d be moving in with and whether or not can you fit the mould of the lifestyle they live.

I’ve been to ten or more viewings in the last two months; some are plain sailing, others are an experience to behold. One of my first viewings scared me to be honest. I was told by the letting agency that I must be at the property at 5pm as that was my slot and if I was late I’d miss out. So I finished work a little early and headed to the property, to be greeted by what can only be described as a small army of people standing on the green outside the house.

I asked one of the people waiting was this the correct property, which he confirmed then with a cheeky smile said “Good Luck”, as if to say once the door was opened all hell was going to break loose and I was in for some WWE smackdown.

The letting agent (who will remain nameless) arrived and knocked on the door, which took me by surprise as surely he should have the keys or have arranged for the house to be vacant for half an hour.

My heart sunk as I thought to myself that this wasn’t going to end well. After gaining entry to the house the letting agent waved his hand and it was like seeing Americans barge their way into the shops on Black Friday. I waited for the majority of the crowd to leave as I was already uncomfortable with this situation and, to be fair, no-one spent more than five minutes in the property so I wasn’t waiting long. On leaving, I saw several of the people arguing on the lawn on who was more deserving, but with a crowd that size and the time frame how could the letting agent even comprehend who was deserving?

I could only walk away, thinking to myself; ‘If this is what I’m in for, God help me’.

Thankfully, I haven’t had an experience like that since as I’ve refused to view any properties held by that letting agency. I have viewed a lot of houses with one agency and I meet nearly the same agent all the time. This agency works with each person they meet one to one and assesses them to give the landlord and good idea of who is the ideal candidate. However, that means a line forms outside and can feel somewhat degrading, especially if you’re at the back and the weather decides to dampen your mood.

You would swear that Gareth Brooks was back in town with the size of some of the queues. To say the least, long queues are intimidating as you start looking at people and you can’t help but create a back story for each of them in your head: “He’s a doctor... she’s a doctor... She is defiantly a doctor... oh yeah... me”. Not saying I’ve a crappy job, I’m a site engineer on a large residential project, it’s kind of ironic I spend my day building houses yet can’t find one to rent, and I’m not too sure has the boss heard of “mates rates”. But it is intimidating seeing people queuing with their flashy suits and then along comes me in the mud-stained work pants.

I’ve met with the same agent several times now and she knows me without having to check her file, which is nice as I feel we’ve developed a kind of professional friendship and she is rooting for us, but at the end of the day it’s the landlord’s decision. I’ve asked her is there any way of shooting yourself up the list or making yourself stand out more so the landlord will notice you... or is it a case of a brown envelope under the desk *wink wink*?

Those days are gone thankfully as, with the price of rent at the moment, all I can afford to put in a brown envelope is an IOU when I get a pay rise. So it’s good to know that although it’s tough going out there, you’re not getting screwed by a guy with a bigger wallet.

So there it is, a small glimpse of what it’s like trying to rent a house in Cork, there’s nothing more I can do but keep showing up and putting my best foot forward. I could go on about some of the places I’ve viewed and the prices they are looking for but that could be turned into a bestselling novel.

Oh well the search continues...

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