It's wild out there...
If you are reading this because you are currently looking for a new place - particularly in Dublin - then you have our condolences.
Ireland's rental market is wild and getting wilder - and things are unlikely to change in the short term.
1. Searching - Renters planning a move face a tricky situation where properties are going so quickly that it's hard to plan too far ahead.
While there is a number of letting sites, Daft has established its self as the 'go-to' website/app for renters (and you'll be sick of the sight of it by the time you find somewhere).
It requires constant monitoring and you should track the available properties in the areas that you're interested in long ahead of your pencilled-in move-date so you're primed to pounce when the time is right.
2. Act fast - Once it comes to crunch time be ready to get in right away to try to secure a viewing (bearing in mind that the person renting it is going to have a full inbox very soon after it goes live).
3. Come prepared - Show up to viewings ready to make a move if you like what you see. Think of bringing a plastic envelope with some of the doc's you'll need:
Chances are they'll need more info and want it sent through email - but having them with you creates the impression that you're organised and know what you are at (two qualities which landlords like).
4. Get personal - Chat to the person conducting the viewing and try to go past the superficial 'it's a nice place' chat. Maybe have a few questions ready to go about the place.
A little bit of a sob story about how perfect the place would be for you might help - but don't over do it.
5. Keep your chin up - Don't be put off by your first cattle-march lunchtime viewing and rejection. These things can take time.
6. Have everything ready - If you do get 'the nod' be ready to send on anything they ask for.
Here's a list of what I was asked for when renting a place through an agent in Dublin:
7. Take a second look - Viewings can be frantic - but make sure to have a second look. Is there mould? What's the ventilation like? Are the windows single or double glaze?
If you sign a lease on a property which has flaws which you've overlooked you could face months of headaches trying to get these issues dealt with.
Bringing a second (less emotionally involved) pair of eyes to viewings can be a good idea when possible - in case you're missing anything.
8. Be open minded and explore - Many renters start with a dream location in mind but being tied to one or two neighbourhoods can be costly.
Take a Saturday to explore some area's you've never been to or properly walked around before.
In Dublin, in particular, there is a clear north/south divide. Save money in the long term by looking north of the Liffey.
Daft 2016 final quarter rent report
9. Manage your expectations - If you are finding it hard to secure a new home you are going to have to weigh-up how important four factors are: Cost, location, finish (furnishing, state of the kitchen etc), and space.
Once you've decided which ones are more important, it's time to start making some concessions...
As a reference point - this is one of the cheapest one-bedroom apartment listed on Daft. It's in Ballsbridge and the rent is €1,000 per month:
And this is the most expensive in the whole city, at €8,000 per month. It's located just off of Merrion Square.
10. Budget realistically - In the last quarter of last year, Irish rents rose at the fastest rate on record.
An annual increase of 13.5% was recorded and they're still going up.
As soon as you start crunching the numbers you might realise that this is going to cost you more than you thought it would...
11. Re-budget more realistically - As you talk yourself into being able to afford a one bedroom €1,600 apartment in Ranelagh - make sure you factor in the extra costs once your bills (electricity, gas, broadband) start coming in.
There are also pesky one-off annual costs like the €160 TV licence fee which is paid by a property's occupants - not the owner (and you need to pay it even if you don't have a TV).
Make sure the numbers make sense before you sign that lease.
12. Read the lease three times - This is a legally binding document.
13. Get this Splitting app - If you are sharing, Splitwise is a great app for splitting bills and avoiding arguments over who owes what to whom down the line.
14. Make sure the property is registered with the Residential Tenancy Board - The database is here and is very easy to search.
If they are not you could have problems filing taxes and providing proof of residency if the property is not registered.
15. Photos for the record - Take gas and electricity meter readings as soon as you move in and photograph them.
While you're at it take photos of any damage in the property and send them all in an email to the estate agent or landlord so there's proof that it's been documented.
16. Email everything - A lot of the time it's easier to deal with landlords over the phone rather than email or text.
If you do it's no harm to send an email after with a summary of the issue that was discussed and the resolutions agreed (just so there's a dated record of the conversation in case there's an issue down the line).
17. Make sure you get an inventory - Get this in writing from the person who you are renting from - stating everything that's in the house when you get it.
18. Get an energy rating - Request the BER rating - the landlord is required to present one.
19. Take out insurance - It's unlikely that your belongings would be covered by the property owner's insurance so you might need content insurance to cover goods like phones, laptops, TVs, and game consoles.
20. Know the laws around raising rent - Once you are locked-in your rent cannot be raised for two years.
21. Get receipts - You are entitled to one within 72 hours of paying. It is particularly important to get one when you hand over your deposit.
22. Know how much notice you are entitled to if they want you to move out - If your landlord wants to get rid of you, they required to give you notice (unless it is for issues like not paying rent, or engaging in anti-social behaviour).
The length of this period is based on how long you've been in the property:
23. Leaving - Once you sign a lease you can only leave if your landlord agrees to terminate it early or if they allow you to sublet and find a replacement.
In this case, you are losing your legal right to your deposit, it's at the discretion of the landlord.