‘Chances are I won’t be coming back to Ireland’ – Man forced to emigrate to Portugal as housing crisis hits older renters


People renting their homes nearing retirement have told of the struggle to find housing as availability dwindles and they are pushed into poverty.

ohn, in his late fifties, is renting a room in Dublin and said he will be forced to emigrate as he cannot secure long-term, affordable housing anywhere in Ireland.

“I’m a half homeowner in that I own half a house with my ex-wife, so I’m renting at the moment, and I’m renting a room for €600 a month in north County Dublin,” he told RTÉ Radio One Liveline.

“For economic reasons, I have decided to emigrate to Portugal from September. Because firstly there is nowhere to rent. I’m not just talking about not wanting to leave my country, I will live anywhere in Ireland and I can’t find anything anywhere in Ireland.

“Well, I can go to Portugal, I can get a two-bedroom house in a town just a short walk from the beach for half the price I pay for a room here.”

John, who is divorced, said he never thought he would find himself in this position at this stage in his life and it has “ruined” his sanity. He said in the past he was at risk of becoming homeless.

He expressed anger at the situation and was upset at the prospect of abandoning his two adult children.

The difficulties renters face, either when buying their own home or finding affordable rental housing, have been exposed by

“As part of the divorce, I had to leave home, so I was great with that. It’s been tough the last two and a half years, I’ve moved four times because, landlord, you might have a contract with them, doesn’t matter. They sell the house, you’re gone, no excuses,” he said.

“If you actually talk to a landlord and I tell them my age and they’re like, ‘Oh, are you going to be in the house all day?’ and I said yes, and they said, ‘Sorry, we’re looking for a professional couple or person.’ I assume they don’t want people using the electricity, I don’t know what it is.

“And then half of the shelters don’t take men, they say women are preferred.

“It destroys your sanity because you literally don’t know where you’re going to live from week to week. This last place I got here I was on the street within a week, it was that simple. The municipality doesn’t help me because I own half a house so I’m not entitled to any help, no rent supplements, nothing .

“I’m absolutely furious, I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m leaving my two children here, one at 25, one at 20. I’m so upset about this but I have no choice, this government screwed me and them government for the last 15 years they screwed this whole country.

“There’s a good chance I won’t be coming back to Ireland. I’ve paid all my taxes, I’ve worked my fingers to the bone to provide a home for my kids, put them through college and all that, and I end up getting a kick in the teeth.”

Elizabeth, who is in her late 60s, and her husband, who is in her early 70s, have been renting for 28 years. The couple has to leave their rented apartment by the end of the month and cannot find a place to stay.

“We’ve been in this house for 13 years and the landlord wants it back, I’m in North County Dublin, I’ve been to councils, TDs but we’re over the limit to get help. We all have our own furniture, we’re ready to take it all as soon as we can move in because we have to move out at the end of this month,” she told presenter Katie Hannon.

“And our family can’t accommodate us because they don’t have a room. Because we’re above that [financial means] Limit, they don’t want to know it’s that simple. The fact that there is nothing out there. House prices have just gone through the roof here.”

The personal accounts of older renters struggling to find housing come as a study by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) shows that one in five renters between the ages of 45 and 54 have little prospect of ever owning a home.

The research shows that this age cohort is at the forefront of a rising wave of a generation facing significantly worse retirements than current retirees.

It also warns that the state is unlikely to be able to fully bear the cost burden of a large number of people renting in old age. ‘Chances are I won’t be coming back to Ireland’ – Man forced to emigrate to Portugal as housing crisis hits older renters

Fry Electronics Team

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