The situation is out of control.
This week the Daft Rent Report confirmed what Cork renters knew already; the cost of renting a home in Cork City has risen by an eye-watering 6.3% in the past 12 months.
The average rent payment is now at €1483, while a double room in Cork City will set you back €569 a month.
What the report couldn’t illustrate is that the situation facing many renters in Cork is far worse than the latest stats suggest. When we asked Yay Cork readers to share their experiences of renting on Leeside, we were inundated with replies; most of them angry and desperate.
The jist? People are tired of being repeatedly squeezed by ruthless landlords and property companies and ignored by the Government.
Of the Yay Cork readers who took part in our poll, 61% are currently living in rented accommodation in Cork.
In most cases, the cost of rent was being increased annually, often by much more than the limit of 4% per year in Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs).
We heard from many tenants who were afraid to contact their landlords about issues such as damp, mould, and heating problems in case they hiked up the rent even further.
Others said property companies were renting out neighbouring apartments to new tenants for more than 50% more than what they were paying their private landlord. In many cases, tenancy agreements are sketchy or non-existent.
Support is in short supply too; one reader was advised by a housing charity that pursuing a complaint about the poor state of their rented home was likely to end in her eviction.
“They can cancel my lease and find some reason to go about it that will result in me being homeless for fighting for basic sanitation/living conditions,” Jamie told us.
“The property companies know there is such a huge demand for houses that it would probably suit then better to have me out so they can charge more rent because they know they’ll get it.”
Rent Pressure Zone rules ‘ignored’
“We are seriously concerned about affordability in the rental market, with average rents increasing year-on-year across Munster – rents in Cork, Galway and Limerick Cities all increased by over 6%, while rents in Waterford increased by over 8%.” said CEO of Threshold, John-Mark McCafferty.
“As many of these cities are designated Rent Pressure Zone, it is yet more evidence that the RPZs are not being adhered to.”
With the current Rent Pressure Zone legislation due to expire later this year, Threshold is calling for clarity as to what they will be replaced with: “Not only is it necessary to sustain a form of rent regulation, measures are needed to bring rents down nationally and increase the level of housing that is affordable, not just based on two-income households earning in excess of the average wage.” said McCafferty.
Approximately half of renters in Ireland are aged between 18 and 34, the age cohort most adversely impacted by Covid-related income loss and unemployment.
“The ESRI has warned that these young workers may have lower incomes in the future,” said Chairperson of Threshold, Aideen Hayden.
“These factors, combined with the absence of affordable housing – which forces people to pay way more than 30% of their income on rent and to share with strangers well into their 30s, 40s and perhaps beyond – should be taken as warning signs of a potentially deepening housing crisis.”
Here are 40 anonymous horror stories of rent increases in Cork: