herald

Wednesday 16 October 2019

The shower, the sink and the wardrobe

The bedroom features bunk beds while there is also only a wash basin and a shower
The bedroom features bunk beds while there is also only a wash basin and a shower
The communal 'living room' area of the house

Tenants in a Dublin house are paying close to €400 to rent a bunk bed in a shower room, our pictures show.

The four-bedroom house in Inchicore was advertised on a Facebook group and there are currently nine people living there.

As Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy continues to be hit by a backlash over his comments about the development of co-living blocks - saying young people should be "excited" to pay less for less space - these images reveal the cramped conditions some renters in Ireland are living in.

The Herald viewed the property and spoke to two tenants, who said all areas of the house are communal and "they share everything".

In one bedroom, there are a set of bunk beds, a shower, a sink and a wardrobe.

However, the prospective tenant who rents the bottom bunk will be given only two drawers in the hallway for their clothes.

Each of the tenants pays €388 rent plus €20 bills per month, on top of a €370 deposit.

Mattress

There is also a mattress in the living room for friends to stay if they are "stuck for somewhere to sleep".

The tenants have a cleaning schedule on a notice board in the kitchen and everyone takes turns doing chores.

The tenants are all young foreign nationals from Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.

The property has two people to a room and is registered with the Residential Tenancies Board as a four-bedroom rental.

Housing charity Threshold condemned how Ireland's housing crisis was resulting in this kind of "submarine living".

"We have the prospect of purpose-built co-living, offering limited space but attracting premium prices," said the charity's communications executive, Cathy Flanagan.

"These 'designer' or 'boutique-inspired' spaces will most likely be offered to prospective residents under licences rather than a lease. In other words, the residents will have no tenancy rights.

"Then on the opposite end of the market, we have 'submarine living', bunk beds in kitchens or living rooms and hallways of properties, with people doubling, tripling or quadrupling up in rooms and in some situations, shift workers sharing a bed, using it at different times of day.

"Fearful of the consequences of speaking out, this cohort of tenant has little or no choice or rights."

Meanwhile, TDs are calling on Mr Murphy to resign, describing his comments on co-living as "inexcusable".

The minister referred to plans by Bartra Capital for a co-living complex in Dun Laoghaire with 208 "single-occupancy bedspaces" and communal kitchens, each shared by up to 42 residents.

"As we all did when we were younger, we sacrificed less space for less rent," he said.

"This isn't about allowing for high-density bedsits, but a new accommodation that's been very successful round the world."

Sinn Fein housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin compared the new developments to "tenements".

"The minister's comments about young people having to make sacrifices in terms of rental accommodation are, quite frankly, bizarre," he said.

"Young people are facing rising costs for rents, insurance and education and the minister's patronising comments were not helpful."

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