By Roisin Burke
The scramble to find a home in the crisis-hit rental sector has led to people queuing to view a €900-a-month one-bedroom apartment on Cork's Tuckey Street.
Among those queuing was Constance Roberts and her boyfriend Piet Pille who have been searching for an apartment in Cork city since February.
Constance is currently living at home with her parents in Carrigaline while Piet is living in a house share in the city.
Piet said last week they were the first people in a 50-person queue on MacCurtain Street and were refused the apartment because they did not have a reference letter with them.
Piet said the rental sector is a lot more expensive than it was a few years ago.
The average rental property in Cork has soared to above €1,210 a month — up almost 10% on last year.
“We pushed the boat out to €900 a month just to get somewhere nice. That is the very end of our budget,” said Piet.
“Nowadays landlords like to have prospective tenants view the place first, whereas before you could just offer them a deposit and they would take it.
“It used to be simpler,” he said. Now it is references first and then a viewing and then you talk about the deposit.”
Both Piet and Constance are working full time in Cork Art Supplies and would like to move in together in a place in the city so they are closer to work and city amenities.
Meanwhile, Brazilian husband and wife Cecilia Teixeira and Fabricio Silveria moved to Cork two weeks ago and have been looking for a place to live since they arrived.
Cecilia said it is a lot harder than back home.
“There are more homes available in Brazil,” she said.
The couple, who have come to Ireland for eight months to study English, said they have had to extend their house search period by another two weeks in an attempt to find something suitable.
Serena Fitzgerald has been living in a hostel for the past three years and is seriously looking for a place to live since October.
Serena said most places don’t accept rent allowance or Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) and rents in Cork are very expensive.
She said the places she had viewed are either dirty or damp.
“Not having my own place is holding me back,” said Serena. “If one person was to give me a chance it would be amazing.”
Serena has been seeking assistance from a number of organisations in her search for a home including Threshold, Focus Ireland and the Council.
This story first appeared in today's Evening Echo