{Housing} Landlord Horror Stories.

In #rabble2, Highlights, Politics, Print Editionby rabble3 Comments

Illustration: Catherine Tomkins

Ah yes, those racketeering parasites that cream it in from your rent receipts while you live in a ramshackle hovel. rabble assembled this collection of tales to chill your spine.

“It was so cold that when I plugged in my phone to charge in my bedroom it said ‘will not charge at this temperature’. As it came into Summer, a horrific smell filled the flat; we sourced it coming from my mate’s wardrobe, she cleaned it out as she was worried that a rodent had died in there. After I moved out I went back to collect some things I had forgotten. The new tenants said that the sewage pipes from the toilet had burst and been leaking right through to my mate’s bedroom wall for months before they moved into it….I kind of wish it had been a dead rat after all.” – Gemma, Inchicore.

“He flat out refuses to get a washing machine despite promising me he would get one when I moved in a year ago. He has until 2013 to get one, but by that time I will be moved out. I’ve since learned he is known to rent allowance people for being awful” – Linda, Rathmines.

“Water from the bathroom upstairs was leaking down through the light fitting downstairs. After many attempts to get the landlord around, he finally called over, went up to the bathroom, looked at the leak and told us to stop having ‘enthusiastic showers’ because they were clearly causing the leak. Nothing to do with the house falling apart.” – Christine, Ranelagh.

“When I moved in I asked the landlord to remove five of the beds in the front room. He said “but sure you could get five polish lads to live in there and then ye could pay less rent”. – Emer, Northstrand.

“I went through the Private Residential Tenancies Board Tribunal to get my deposit back from a landlord and won the case. He later counter-sued me for €4,500 and appealed the decision twice.” – Aine, Francis Street.

“The apartment was dripping wet inside, the dehumidifier took 3 liters of Water every day. The ventilation for the whole place was in the living room, which let in more humid air. The toilet was right next to the kitchen. Greasy, black windows in every room. The price for this extravaganza was €1500 for three 12 meter square rooms.” – E.H., Ranelagh.

“I had to hide in a Leith Walk cupboard for 4 hours while a string-vested landlord stalked the house with two pit-bulls and two equally ugly children looking for another housemate… kicking in doors and other such Trainspotting like behaviour! Good times.” – Laura, Dundrum.

“In my late teens I was wrongfully evicted, with two weeks notice, because neighbours had a house party and one of the people attending fell unconscious at the end of the road. Apparently an ambulance had to be called. My landlord assumed he came from my house. No questions, no way to counter the allegations just out on my ear on a minimum wage job. I had to register as – Richard. Dublin 7. “I rented a bedsit, which was the attic conversion of the landlords house. My place was grand if over-priced but my landlady had a severe cat problem. They would shit all over our hallway. It got worse, we paid rent directly to the landlady, which meant visiting her house. The place was literally covered in cat-shit. During the summer the everything stank.” – Tara, Galway.

“A few years ago we lived in a bedsit, cunningly turned into a two bedroom apartment by placing a plasterboard wall between each ‘room’. The landlord had even factored in the shared radiator, and there was a bit of clearance between it and the wall. As a result though, we could hear EVERYTHING that happened in each other’s rooms, so ended up stuffing the gap with old t-shirts, nothing like coming home to the smell of slow roasted cotton.” – George, Lennox Street.


  1. Rathmines. There are eleven bedsits in my tenement era building. On a very conservative estimate, the landlord is pulling in 80,000 a year in net rent. Most of this figure would be subsidised by rent allowance. He owns (again, this is guestimated, via conversations with other tenants), at least 5 of the buildings in a 7 building terrace. I am also aware that he has interest in a substantial number of similar properties across the city.
    Currently, I am working an internship in order to gain experience so that hopefully I can get a job – most likely abroad at this stage. I have a first class honours degree and masters. I am in receipt of rent allowance, but this does not cover my rent. I have to supplement my rent allowance to the tune of 50 euro a week. This is to me, a huge chunk of my income, and there is nothing left after I pay my bills for the week. I am aware (due to extensive ‘research’) this is all I can afford in this city. I need to be here, because this is where the opportunities are, and the only chance I have to build up my CV and get any kind of decent job. There is nothing in my rural town in the northeast.
    I am one of two Irish tenants in my building. Unbelievably, there are families living in these circumstances. There is no back yard, and only one washing machine for the 5 buildings. (Apparently, the others are being repaired for the last year). Fire safety is a huge worry. I am at basement level on the back, but due to the crowding of extensions, lack of fire doors, and poor access routes to outside, I know that I would be completely trapped if such an incident did occur. The tenants on the first to second floors would be equally fucked. I have often thought of contacting the fire officer of DCC to do an assessment, but in reality, where would this get me? This is all I can afford.
    Thank you for highlighting this issue. The ‘social dividend’ of NAMA should be to provide accommodation for families and individuals who are currently at the mercy of the (in my mind, rigged and indeed heavily subsidised) private market. This will not occur, as there is much more money in mothballing buildings and waiting for the international investors to pick at the carcass.

    1. Christ. I’d thought we’d seen the last of crammed tenement living in this city. I was wrong.

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