Kerry mother facing homelessness within weeks as she struggles to find a new home

More than 50 Caherciveen properties are listed on Airbnb for short-term and holiday rentals, leaving Lisa O'Shea with 'no options'
Kerry mother facing homelessness within weeks as she struggles to find a new home

Lisa O’Shea packing up her belongings as she is due to become homeless over the coming weeks, if she cannot find a new home in Cahersiveen, Co Kerry. Pictures: Dan Linehan

A Kerry mother, who has two weeks left to find a new home, says she has “no options” left due to the number of homes being used as short-term or holiday rentals.

Lisa O’Shea, from Cahersiveen, says she will be left without a home in a fortnight after the house she had been renting from a private landlord for 12 years was taken over by receivers.

Despite Lisa’s attempts to purchase the property when it went on the market, she was outbid, meaning that she has to find a new home for her and her 15-year-old daughter.

However, she says that there is nothing available in the area for long-term rentals and a major issue in this regard is the number of properties being used for short-term and holiday rentals.

On Tuesday afternoon, there were 53 properties to rent on Airbnb for some weekends in June. In addition, there were 13 properties listed on Daft.ie, all of which are owned by a company that offers self-catering and B&B accommodation in Ireland and the UK and seem to be aimed at those looking for short stays.

 Lisa O’Shea will become homeless over the coming weeks if she cannot find a new home in Cahersiveen. 
Lisa O’Shea will become homeless over the coming weeks if she cannot find a new home in Cahersiveen. 

Lisa said she is aware of more properties which are aimed at short terms stays which have been advertised on other sites, or on social media. 

“I have no options,” said Lisa, who owns a beauty salon in the town.

“I'm here sitting in the sitting room with a million boxes. I've only a dent made in packing up stuff. 

I'm trying to run a business, pack, trying to find a place to live, all at the same time."

She said that while Kerry County Council has offered her a place, the house in question was unsuitable due to its small size and the fact she wants to buy a house, “rather than clog up the social housing system”. 

“I want to buy a house,” she said, adding that she has run into issues with the banks in terms of securing mortgage approval due to her status as a sole trader and single parent.

Lisa said the lack of available accommodation has been an ongoing problem, which has worsened over Covid-19.

“There is nowhere to go. I laugh when people ask, ‘can’t you move in with your mother?’ — no I can’t. I'm nearly 40 years of age; I run my own business. 

“The only debt I have is a car loan, yet I can’t get a mortgage,” Lisa said.

As well as putting pressure on those who live in the town, and its surrounding areas, Lisa said the accommodation drought is stopping those who would have grown up in the area, from returning.

“A lot of my age group and gone since the recession. I have heard of a lot of people who are trying to move back to the area and they can't get accommodation,” she said.

Lisa said she may receive some negative feedback for speaking out against the short-term rentals, which are popular in tourist towns across Kerry.

“The problem isn’t with the small-time player, who has inherited a second home or is renting out a room, it’s the people who are going out and buying properties with the sole aim of turning them into B&Bs,” Lisa added.

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