Soapbox – House Hunting

Tormented by and lured in by landlords, Aoife Valentine finds herself losing the househunting battle.

Home: where Mammy is always there to cook for you, bills don’t really exist and you probably don’t run the risk of catching typhoid. It’s easy to see why moving out is usually a mildly scary but rather exciting venture. Growing up, becoming a real person, all that jazz – thrilling altogether. At least, until you venture onto Daft.

When the website actually chooses to function correctly, which is not as often as you would think, there is still an endless list of troubles. Landlords and letting agents may advertise their properties but in reality, they’re just teasing you.

They like to play hard to get – either they don’t put up photos of their property, leaving you wanting its perfect location but fearing that the lack of images means you’ll be living in a hovel, or they simply don’t answer their phones. Ever.

If it’s not that, they’re playing other games. Sneaky games. They lull you into a sense of false hope, where you’re led to believe you’ll be paying a stupidly low rent, only for them to later reveal that you will in fact be sharing the room with a total stranger. This also makes entering the maximum rent for a room option essentially redundant, just to screw with your search a little more. Boo-urns.

If you’re lucky enough to get someone to actually answer their phone, and they don’t automatically assume you’re the devil incarnate come to wreck the gaff with your wild and crazy parties simply because you’re not a mature student, you might actually get around to viewing the place. At this point you’ll realise that the “10 minutes walk to UCD” actually means that you’ll have a good half hour walk, after a short journey in a hot air balloon, before you’re even in the general vicinity of a UCD gate.

It will also become apparent that “cosy” either means, “Your room is actually located in the closet under the stairs,” or that the double room you’re paying over the odds for is actually the size of a postage stamp. The fact that they managed to somehow squeeze a double bed into the space almost becomes impressive rather than infuriating. Landlords of Dublin 4 please be aware: Just because you put a double bed in the room, doesn’t make it a double room. You’re just making me claustrophobic.

And finally, the most heartbreaking of them all – you’ve found the perfect place and fought your way past all the hurdles: you’ve beaten the terrible search system, you’ve managed to pin down that elusive landlord and most importantly, you’ve finally mastered that hot air balloon, only to be finally told that they let the room earlier in the week, but forgot to take the ad down. It’s almost soul destroying to have to begin the process all over again.

I think I may just take up residence in the Water Tower. I hear Hugh Brady’s lease is up soon.