A LIMERICK entrepreneur has set up a company matching tenants and landlords – after posting an advert for a room which garnered almost 1,000 enquiries!
Colm Moore, who lives just off the Ennis Road, believes there are hundreds of empty rooms going spare in the city, be it from parents whose children have gone to university, or elderly people staying in the family home.
Now, he’s come up with a solution to see these rooms filled, which would lead to a significant easing on demand in Limerick’s rental market.
“If you look at the census data, it shows there are 120,000 people living in Limerick, but 60,000 empty bedrooms. People talk of a housing crisis. It’s more of an accommodation crisis. Looking at the numbers, we can solve this crisis without building one home in Limerick,” Mr Moore said.
His project – StandOutRenters – would place the onus on the landlord to find a suitable fit for their space, as opposed to the other way around, where would be tenants going against each other, leading to a huge imbalance on supply and demand.
He has first-hand experience of this, saying: “I’m living in Ashbrook with a couple of friends. One of the guys was leaving to go to the USA. We put up an advert for the room, and had 970 people apply.”
It was this experience which saw the genesis of StandOutRenters, with Mr Moore saying: “I couldn’t believe the supply and demand imbalance, so I looked at how could I filter and look through these 970 people. There was no option there.”
”A lot of the messages I was getting from people were just paragraphs of information from them – like how they were lovely nice people. So we’ve built a system which allows renters to build an online profile – like a LinkedIn for renting. It will outline what their situation is, where they are from, do they have landlord/employer references, will they help with chores in the home,” Mr Moore explains.
The idea of the website is a prospective landlord, or someone just wishing to rent a spare room in their home, can visit the web site, and make an offer to people by searching through a database to find a good match.
And with the cost of living rising, he feels it could be an attractive choice for hosts.
“My sole aim with this is to bring more hosts into the market, bring more bedrooms on stream. The situation is getting worse. We are not solving the housing crisis, we have 1,000 additional students a year across the language schools. We are not building the homes to manage these students, not to mind the big firms in Raheen and Castletroy,” he added.
Already, Mr Moore – who was educated at Ardscoil Ris – has 60 profiles for people seeking to rent in Limerick, and 20 landlords using the site actively. Five people have already been placed thanks to the company.
Over the years, he feels the wrong housing stock was built in Limerick.
“The only thing we should build in Limerick now is 5,000 to 10,000 one-and-two bed apartments in the city centre. People want to rent a place. But do they want to rent a three-bed home in Caherdavin and know there are children living in hotels? For every couple who rent a full house themselves, they’d be taking two bedrooms out of supply,” he said.
In terms of competition from Airbnb, Mr Moore points out that stays using this website are liable for tax, and says StandoutRenters is “an Airbnb for when you want someone in for two months.”
“For the hosts, the worry is that you’d have to do it full time. But some hosts might do it over winter when they want someone in the home, or they want to top up their pension for three months or so,” he adds.
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