MARC Roosli and his partner Susan Coughlan are facing their second move from a rental property in 12 months.
The couple say the stress it is causing is having a massive negative impact on their daily lives. Marc runs his own business, Mirador Media, and employs three people full-time. The couple’s intention is to buy their own home down the line, but there is nowhere for them to rent in the meantime.
Marc, originally from Switzerland, moved to Susan’s native Ballydehob five years ago. Between them, they have four teenagers. They had been renting a large family house in Kilcoe for four years prior to the pandemic, but after the first lockdown, the landlord’s family moved back. ‘We got plenty of notice and were treated very fairly, but when we started looking for a place in May, we found it very difficult,’ they said.
‘A lot of rental homes were being used as Airbnbs all summer and it was difficult to get any commitment on long-term lettings. We were offered a sub-standard home for €900 a month that you’d get pneumonia from even looking at, complete with damp patches and single glazing. It was so frustrating.’
After a summer looking, a friend stepped up and offered them temporary rental accommodation where they’ve lived since September, but it meant they had to spend two hours a day driving for the school runs.
The couple are once again on the look-out for a family home with their current temporary
accommodation having run its course.
‘There are still some sub-standard homes available, but quality rental is scarce to non-existent, and by quality we mean homes that are dry and healthy,’ they said.
‘With all the focus placed on ownership in Ireland, there is no real focus at government level to provide long-term renters with secure accommodation, and with the lack of supply and increased demand for housing to purchase – the rental property stock is depleting fast,’ added Susan. ‘There needs to be more control and regulations put in place to ensure a sufficient level of property to rent and to ensure that what is available meets basic requirements.
‘We feel that the pandemic has accelerated an existing issue in West Cork where most of the rental homes are short-term lets, only available off-season and property ownership is largely unattainable, even on middle income. The few houses that were traditionally long-term lets are now on the market to answer the increasing demand in the region.’
The couple say there is nothing unique about them: ‘We’re looking for a three-bed family home in any part of West Cork but it’s not there.’
This is part two in a series about the West Cork rental crisis. Read part one here.
Read part three on Wednesday.