After you have secured a job, finding accommodation in Ireland is the next big step. Whether you’re looking to rent or to buy, here is some basic information you will need when navigating the Irish housing market and making yourself at home.
Housing in Ireland
There are numerous choices when it comes to the kind of accommodation you can rent or buy, such as houses, apartments, or house shares. House shares (renting a private bedroom in a shared house), are a very common option in Ireland, especially for single people in larger cities where demand and rents are high. Rents and house prices vary widely by location and are higher in cities. Of course, while rent in Dublin is higher than other parts of the country, it also has the widest range of amenities and access to jobs, as well as an excellent transport system. In big areas the housing market is more competitive. Prepare for a first come, first served approach and be proactive in making enquiries and arranging viewings.
Renting in Ireland
Your lease (or Tenancy Agreement), is a legally binding contract signed by both you and the owner of the property. This lays out the conditions such as the rate of rent, the duration of the lease and what will happen if the terms are broken. A lease is usually for 6 or 12 months.
You can find rentals by searching online, or through visiting a letting agent. Popular websites such as daft.ie, rent.ie and vrbo.com allow you to search by area or transit route and list all different types of accommodation. Searching online is also a great way to see your options and get ahead before you move from your home country.
Letting agents can also help you find the perfect home, and may also provide administrative, management and other services for the property, but there will be an added fee. Some of the most widely used lettings agents are Sherry Fitzgerald and Savills.
Typical bills may include electricity, gas or oil, internet, phone, water, and waste. Make sure you know what bills, if any, are included in your rent. Rented houses and apartments in Ireland are usually fully furnished.
When applying to rent accommodation in Ireland, you may be asked for the following documentation:
- Employer reference, including address and telephone number to prove employment
- Previous landlord reference, including address and telephone number
- Valid photo ID to confirm your identity
- Bank details, to show you’re financially secure enough to pay rent
Renting and Your Rights
Ireland has strong tenant protection laws, and it’s important to be aware of your rights.
- When you first sign a lease, rent cannot be changed for 24 months
- After this time, you must be given at least 90 days notice of a rent increase
- After an increase, your rent cannot be increased again for a further 24 months
- Rent must not exceed the market rate
When renting, you will usually need to provide a security deposit. This fee is returned at the end of the lease unless the terms have been broken. Landlords can keep security deposits when damage has been done to the property, contents have been taken, or bills have been left unpaid. Deposits can’t be kept over ‘normal wear and tear’ such as faded carpets, chipped paint or worn furniture.
Buying a House in Ireland
If you’re thinking about settling in Ireland on a longer term basis, buying a home may make more financial sense than renting. Again, prices vary widely based on location and proximity to transit links.
There are a number of ways to find houses for sale in Ireland. You can find homes for sale through estate agents, auctioneers, or an online search. Many renting and lettings websites will also list properties for sale. All homes for sale must have a Building Energy Rating (BER), which details its energy efficiency. It is recommended you hire a surveyor to examine a property for structural defects before buying, as sellers are not obligated to disclose this information.
Most home buyers in Ireland will need mortgage approval first. First time buyers can typically purchase homes of up to €220,000 with a 10% mortgage. You will have to provide proof of permanent employment as well as your deposit. You can also expect to pay for legal fees, registration of deeds, and stamp duty. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission offers a simple guide to the home buying process on their website.
If you choose to start your search after you arrive, there are lots of options when it comes to temporary accommodation. Besides the usual hotels and hostels, increasingly popular short-term apartment rentals such as Airbnb and vrbo.com can be a great way for you to live like a local and experience different neighbourhoods in your new city while you arrange viewings.