Landlordism is a particularly obnoxious and parasitic means of making money. It goes far beyond scandalous that even in the twenty-first century someone can own the property that someone else calls home, and that in Ireland housing is not a human right. Landlordism, regardless of how perfectly ordinary any given property owner may be, has played a not insignificant part in the homeless crisis in this country. This week I have experienced the effective eviction of someone very close to me, and I am finding it near impossible to control my rage at this awful situation, and this is a story being replicated over and again across the city.
She was issued with a notice to quit her property near Smithfield not due to a failure to pay rent or for antisocial behaviour, but because rent prices are rising in the area because of gentrification. For four years the landlady, who apparently doesn’t even live in Ireland, was informed of the damp and the deteriorating condition of the place and not a single thing was done. Instead what she got was a notice from an agent at Christmas to move out. The excuse for this was that repairs were to be done, and she would have to vacate the premises (her home) in order to facilitate this. No “repairs” will be done, instead, like is happening all over the city, it will get a lick of paint and put back on the market for an inflated price.
Money never left Dublin during the recession, you see. People with money always have money. All that happened was that they were disinclined by the credit crisis to invest their money, and so the Irish economy slowed. Now the middle classes are “settling” areas of the city where the house prices have fallen cheap enough to pick up at a steal. Other parts of the city are becoming fashionable for the moneyed class, driving buying and renting costs upwards. Those already living there have to be moved out, and the lucky landlords are adjusting their prices accordingly.
All of this is going on at a time when families in their droves are being driven out of their rented homes and into emergency accommodation or – worse – out onto the streets. The number of homeless children in the city is in the hundreds and rising every day. Yet the people flooding into their homes are in high spirits because for them there is an economic recovery. This is the thing about economic growth; it always comes at a cost for the people who don’t economically matter, and this has always been the way in Ireland. Nothing will get done about it either because the national parliament is filled with women and men who are landlords. Landlordism is how the middle classes defecate on the poor.