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Housing in Ireland

Everything You Need to Know about Finding a New Home

As an expat, finding accommodation in Ireland will be one of the first things you will want to sort out upon arriving in the country. Luckily, Ireland does not place many restrictions on foreigners renting or buying homes in the country.

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Like many popular expat destinations, housing in Ireland is fairly competitive. Many of the Irish cities are experiencing a housing shortage, although not as bad as some European ones such as Stockholm. Still, foreigners moving to the Emerald Isle should find a short-term rental first, so that they can give themselves time to sift through the competitive market.

When you find a house or apartment for rent that you like, be prepared to act fast. Because housing availability is limited, you may find that a place you like will not be available a day later. Likewise, there are many different types of houses to choose from, but for a truly great variety, look outside the cities or further away from public transportation.

Whether you are looking to rent a single room or buy a house in Ireland, use this guide for all you need to know. We cover everything from the best ways to search for accommodation, to the documents needed to rent a home, and even how to pay your utility bills in Ireland.

Renting a House or Apartment

Knowing how to rent a house or apartment in Ireland is as straightforward as everything else in the country. The main problem expats face is the same that is experienced in many other popular relocation destinations: the cost. Although Ireland’s job market recovered remarkably fast from the economic downturn, the housing market has struggled to improve.

So, what’s the greatest problem facing Ireland’s housing market? A discrepancy of supply and demand that directly affects cost. In fact, apartments are so expensive that Irish cities have the lowest percentage of people living in apartments than any other European country. Instead, many city dwellers—expats especially—choose to live in semi-detached shared houses.

Renting in Ireland as a Foreigner

Renting in Ireland as a foreigner does not put you at more of a disadvantage than if you were an Irish national. Competition for housing in Ireland, especially in the cities, is tough, but landlords cannot discriminate against a candidate simply because they are from abroad. Keep in mind that as a foreigner, you will at least need to present your legal ability to reside in the country for one year.

How to Rent a House or Apartment in Ireland

The first step to renting in Ireland is finding accommodation. The majority of Irish rentals are found online. These are the most popular local accommodation search sites:

  • Daft.ie
  • Rent.ie
  • Myhome.ie

These sites will allow you to search by housing type, cost, and location. Keep in mind that the further out from a city’s downtown or the further away from a public transit line will offer the greatest and cheapest opportunity for housing.

Real Estate Agent

It is also possible to use a real estate agent in Ireland, but keep in mind that you will be responsible for their fee, rather than landlords paying for the service.

Rental Process and Rules

When you find an accommodation that you like, be prepared to act fast. Because demand is greater than supply throughout Ireland, places go fast. And they’ll go especially fast if you find a place at a reasonable cost.

Every time you view an apartment or house, you should come prepared with all the documents required to secure the accommodation.

Requirements and Documents for Renting

  • Your passport and a copy of your Irish visa.
  • Employer reference such as a work contract or letter stating your position and length-of-stay with the company.
  • Reference from your previous landlord.
  • Bank details verifying your financial situation.

If you have these items with you, it may be possible to sign a rental contract on the day that you see an apartment. You should also come prepared with the deposit, which should only be equal to one month’s rent. There are no legal rules about the deposit amount a landlord can charge, but anything more than one or two months is not standard. This deposit should be returned to you at the end of your contract unless you terminate early or damage the property in some way.

How Long Can I Rent an Apartment in Ireland for?

It is possible to find monthly rental contracts or a full one-year lease. There is no set law for this in Ireland, so it will be up to you to find the rental term that is best for you. If you feel lost or are worried about falling victim to a scam, let the relocation experts at InterNations GO! help relieve your fears and find accommodation for you. We partner with local experts who will help you find the home that is right for you and your budget.

Furnished or Unfurnished?

It is possible to find both furnished and unfurnished apartments in Ireland. Because of its popularity with expats, Dublin has the greatest availability of furnished apartments. It is not common to pay an extra deposit for furnished apartments, but you may not receive your deposit back if you damage any of the furniture.

Average Rent in Ireland

How much is the rent in Ireland? Rent prices in the country vary depending on whether you live in the city or the countryside. The average price throughout the whole country is just over 1,400 EUR (1,550 USD). This figure takes into account monthly rents that range from the most expensive, Dublin at an average of 2,200 EUR (2,400 USD), to the cheapest, Leitrim and Donegal, which are between 600—700 EUR (660—770 USD).

As a foreigner moving to Ireland, you may be looking at one of the areas that is most popular among expats. Obviously, Dublin still reigns supreme as far as the Irish city with the most immigrants, but some southern cities such as Galway and Cork have also seen a steep rise in popularity among foreigners looking to call the Emerald Isle home.

Here’s a look at the average monthly apartment rent among the most popular Irish cities for expats. Keep in mind, that even outside the cities, the minimum rent for a home in Ireland is just around 1,000 EUR (1,100 USD) per month.

Dublin
  EUR USD
For a Solo Expat 1,700 1,880
For an Expat Family of Four 3,000 3,300
 
Cork
  EUR USD
For a Solo Expat 1,100 1,200
For an Expat Family of Four 1,800 2,000
 
Galway 
  EUR USD
For a Solo Expat 1,100 1,200
For an Expat Family of Four 1,200 1,300
Limerick
  EUR USD
For a Solo Expat 900 1,000
For an Expat Family of Four 1,400 1,550
 
Waterford
  EUR USD
For a Solo Expat 800 950
For an Expat Family of Four 1,100 1,200

 

Utilities Bills and Payment 

There are several options for paying your utility bills in Ireland. Depending on the provider you choose for gas, electric, water, and Internet, you can pay your bills online, through a direct withdrawal from your bank account, via an ATM, or at any shop where you see a Payzone sticker.

For more information, see our section on utilities in Ireland below.

Short-Term Rentals in Ireland

Because the housing market in Ireland is competitive, foreigners relocating to Ireland would be wise to set up short-term accommodation upon their initial arrival to the country. A temporary rental will give you more time to look through your options and not feel too pressured to jump on the first place that is available.

Short-Term Rentals: Things to Know

Searching for an apartment with a short-term lease is similar to looking for one with a long-term lease. You can use the same popular rental sites such as Daft.ie, Rent.ie, and Myhome.ie. These sites all include options for monthly and even weekly rentals. There are plenty of options, too, for monthly furnished rentals should you not want to bring all of your belongings with you right away.

Short-Term Rentals: Average Price

The average price of a short-term rental in Ireland will be similar to long-term monthly rentals. Prices in Dublin and the surrounding areas will hover around 1,500 to 1,800 EUR (1,660 to 2,000 USD), while prices elsewhere will stay around 1,000 EUR (1,100 USD). Weekly rentals will generally be more expensive.

Short-Term Rentals: What Documents do I Need?

To rent a short-term rental in Ireland, you will primarily need a form of identification, such as your passport, and an Irish visa showing how long you are permitted to stay in the country. Depending on the length of your stay in the short-term accommodation, you may be asked to provide a proof of income or employment.

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Buying Property as a Foreigner

Want to know how to buy a house in Ireland as a non-resident? The first thing you should know is that there are no restrictions on foreigners buying property in Ireland. This applies to both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA nationals. Use this section to guide you through the process of what is required when buying a home in Ireland as a foreigner.

Requirements to Buy Property in Ireland

As stated, there are no requirements or restrictions for foreigners looking to purchase property in Ireland. This applies to both EU/EEA and non-EU/EEA citizens. Even an Irish tax number, a Personal Public Service (PPS) number, is not required, although not having a PPS will slow down the process.

You should note that although there are no legal restrictions to owning property in Ireland as a foreigner, you may face more difficulties than a national Irish citizen. When applying for a mortgage at a bank, you may need to provide multiple documents defending your financial worth and intent to own property in Ireland.

To ensure you are able to buy your Irish dream home without any problems, contact InterNations GO! We will connect you with experienced real estate agents and lawyers who will help you land the property you want, whether it is an elegant Dublin apartment, a seaside Galway cottage, or your own château outside Limerick.

Finding a House

There is every type of property available for foreigners to purchase in Ireland. Housing types range from typical city apartments to detached and semi-detached homes, countryside cottages, and large family estates. When searching for the property that is right for you, you should keep in mind the space you will need for you and your family, the location to schools and public transport, and whether you want to be closer to a city center or among the secluded rolling green hills.

Finding a home to buy in Ireland is similar to finding a place to rent. You can go through a real estate agent or online. The best online sites are the same as those for rental properties:

  • Daft.ie
  • Rent.ie
  • Myhome.ie
  • Gumtree.ie

There are two main ways to purchase property in Ireland: public auction or private sale. The steps for buying a privately are listed below. At a public auction, you may make a bid for a property at the designated date and time of the auction. The drawbacks are that the property can be sold by the owner before the auction, or it can even be taken off the market before the auction is finished.

Ireland House Prices

Depending on how long you intend to remain in the Emerald Isle, it may be more cost efficient for you to buy property in Ireland rather than rent. Buying a property will also open up more opportunities for you as the rental market is tighter than purchasing.

Process and Steps for Buying a House in Ireland

Buying a home in Ireland can be separated into three stages: negotiation, pre-contract, and completion. You can search for a home and negotiate the purchase terms either by yourself or with the help of a real estate agent. When you get to the pre-contract stage, you must hire a lawyer (or, in Ireland, this profession is typically called a solicitor).

Below are the general steps for purchasing property in Ireland.

Step One 

It is advisable to apply for a mortgage before you start looking at properties in Ireland. This will help you figure out your budget and it will go a long way to making you seem like a serious candidate if you already have a mortgage approved. There are no special hoops for foreigners to jump through when applying for a mortgage in Ireland, but be aware that it may not be as easy as if you were an Irish national. You should be prepared to defend why you should be granted a mortgage and prove your intent to live (and afford to live) in the country.

Step Two

When you find a property you like, you can make an offer to purchase it. Simply making the offer does not legally obligate you to purchase the property, even if your offer is accepted.

Step Three

If your offer is accepted, this is the step where you will need to enlist the services of a lawyer/solicitor. You can also hire a surveyor to inspect the property and ensure that nothing is amiss. In Ireland, sellers are not legally obligated to disclose property defects to you.

Step Four

If the survey is completed to your satisfaction, your hired lawyer can then draw up a Deed of Conveyance. This document will legally transfer ownership of the property to you. Before it is finalized, the seller and their lawyer must also approve of the deed.

Step Five

Once the Deed of Conveyance has been approved, you should receive a Contract of Sale from the seller’s lawyer. When you sign this contract, you will also pay a nonrefundable deposit, which is typically no more than 10% of the purchasing price.

Final

While the length of time it takes to purchase a property in Ireland varies dependent on each individual property and seller, most home purchases will be completed in under six weeks if everything runs smoothly.

What is a Stamp Duty?

Whether you are buying a property for commercial or private use, you will need to pay a stamp duty. This is the fee required in order to register your deed and sale of contract as legally binding documents. If purchasing a commercial property, this tax is typically 6% of the market value of the property. If buying a private residence, this tax is just 1—2% of the market value of the home.

Other Fees Required for Purchasing a Home in Ireland

These are other fees you may be asked to pay during your home buying process.

  • Local property tax
  • Estate agent fee
  • Lawyer fee
  • Property service fee
  • Capital gains tax

Buying a House in Ireland and Citizenship

Buying a home in Ireland does not automatically grant you citizenship or even permanent residency. Likewise, buying property does not immediately allow you to own and operate a business in the country, nor will it grant you a visa. All of these aspects, residency, visas, and the right to work, are handled through different Irish government agencies that are not associated with a foreigner’s right to own a home. Obviously, this pertains largely to non-EU/EEA nationals as EU/EEA residents benefit from the ‘freedom of movement’ and can move to Ireland and immediately start working or obtain residency.

Utilities

Use this section to learn about utility companies in Ireland. Even for such a small country, Ireland has several utility providers to choose from, except when it comes to water.

Electric and Gas

As Ireland is a country that is trying to reduce its carbon footprint, you may find that newly constructed homes will have solar paneling. However, the majority of homes and apartments still run on the traditional electric grid. When it comes to electricity, all services are owned and maintained by the Electrical Supply Board (ESB), even though they may not be the specific electricity supplier.

Gas is common in many Irish households. It is often bundled together with electricity.

To sign up for gas and electric, you will need to submit the required documents to your chosen provider listed below):

  • your personal contact details;
  • your bank details;
  • your 11-digit ESB Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN);
  • your meter reading.

Water

Paying for water as a utility service is still a recent phenomenon in Ireland, and one that was met with great controversy when first introduced. Nowadays, only one organization owns, operates, and distributes water in the country: Irish Water. As a resident, you will be expected to create an account with this authority.

Trash Collection

Waste disposal is primarily run through private companies. How you dispose of your waste or recycle will vary depending on where you live. In general, trash collection happens once a week. Your trash and recycling will need to be separated and placed in separate bins.

If you live in an apartment complex, trash collection will typically be included in your rent. If you are in a detached or semi-detached home, you may need to pay an extra fee.

Utility Company Providers

Electricity and Gas
  • Bord Gáis Energy
  • Electric Ireland
  • Energia
  • PINERGY
  • SSE Airtricity
Gas Only
  • Flogas Natural Gas
Water
  • Irish Water

Things to Know: How Do I Pay My Bill?

How you pay your utility bill will vary from provider to provider, but, in general, you can pay it in one of the following ways:

  • via an app on your cell phone;
  • online through the provider’s website;
  • via an ATM;
  • any location where you see a Payzone sign;
  • direct debit from your bank account;
  • directly at the provider’s office.

Payments are typically collected monthly. Be sure to keep at least one bill from each utility provider as this could be needed to establish residency later on.

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Internet and Mobile Phones

As an expat, getting a cell phone number and connecting to the Internet are very important ways to keep in touch with friends and family back home. Thankfully, Ireland makes it easy to get set-up with both of these utilities quickly and conveniently.

How to Get a Cell Phone Number

There are several ways to get a phone number in Ireland. One way is by visiting the SPAR supermarket upon immediately landing in the Dublin airport. You can purchase a SIM card from one of the three main cell phone providers:

  • Vodafone
  • Three
  • Eir Mobile

If purchasing a SIM card in the airport, you may be immediately signed onto a temporary tourist plan. This can easily be changed to a monthly or yearly plan at your chosen cell phone provider’s storefront.

To sign-up for a cell phone number, you will only need to present your passport and relevant Irish visa. If you opt to enroll into a one-or two-year contract, you may be asked to provide your bank details as well as an employment contract.

Once you have established a cell phone plan, you can pay your bill just like you would any other utility in Ireland:

  • via a cell phone app;
  • via an ATM;
  • direct debit through your bank account;
  • online;
  • directly at the provider’s store.

How to Get a Landline

If you are interested in setting up a landline, look into one of these popular providers:

  • Eir;
  • Sky Ireland;
  • Virgin Media;
  • Pure Telecom.

Just like with registering for a cell phone plan, you may ask asked for your passport, Irish visa, proof of residency, and proof of income or financial stability.

Television in Ireland

There are several television options in Ireland, whether you want broadband, cable, satellite, or subscription services. There are free Irish TV channels available, although what they air is limited and mostly relegated to current news and local events. You can access these channels through Saorview, which airs Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), the National Public Broadcaster for Ireland.

All homes with a TV are  required to pay an annual TV license. Even if you do not watch the national channels, you are required to pay this fee as long as you own a TV or any device that is capable of streaming television programs, such as a desktop computer or laptop. You can pay this fee at an An Post (the Irish Postal Service).

How to Watch Your Home Country’s TV in Ireland

Watching your home country’s TV shows in Ireland can be complicated, but not impossible. One option is to subscribe to certain streaming services that allow for international shows to be viewed abroad. You can also subscribe to a VPN or pay for certain satellite channels. Whichever option you choose, just know that you will always have to pay a bit extra than what you would to just watch the programs available locally.

Do you want to relocate? If you have never moved abroad, the process will be overwhelming, and if you have, you know the burden that lies ahead. Whatever stage you are at, InterNations GO! can help you with a complete set of relocation services, such as home finding, school search, visa solutions, and even pet relocation. Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

Updated on: March 20, 2020
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