Finding somewhere to live when you return to Ireland

Introduction

You will need to have somewhere to live when you move home to Ireland. You may be able to stay with friends or family initially, or you may be in a position to rent or buy a home immediately.

Irish citizens have an automatic right to live in the Ireland. However, if you are returning with a partner who is not a national of the EEA, UK or Switzerland, they will need permission from Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) to live with you in Ireland.

This page gives information on how to find accommodation when you return to Ireland, including how to buy or rent a home, and how to access housing supports if you need them.

Renting when I return to Ireland

You may want to begin your search for rental accommodation before you return to Ireland. You can do this by checking accommodation websites such as daft.ie, myhome.ie, rent.ie amongst others. You can search these websites using filters such as price, location and property size to find the accommodation you need. Accommodation agencies or letting agencies can also help you find private rented accommodation, however they may charge a fee for this service.

Other sources include the accommodation sections of newspapers, advertisements in shops and college notice boards. You may also find available accommodation through word of mouth or 'To Let' signs on properties.

Before renting a property, you should view the accommodation and meet your potential landlord, if possible. You may need to bring certain documentation from the country you’re leaving, such as references from your current landlord. Read about what to do when looking for a flat or house to rent.

As a tenant, you should know your rights and obligations as well as your landlord’s obligations. Threshold is also a useful source of information and advice on landlord and tenant issues.

Help for older people living abroad

If you are an older, Irish-born emigrant living abroad, and you want to return to Ireland, Safe Home Ireland may be able to help you find accommodation.

To qualify for housing support from Safe Home Ireland you must:

  • Be aged 57 or over
  • Capable of independent living
  • Living in rented accommodation abroad and unable to pay for accommodation when you return to Ireland

If you are eligible, they will work to secure accommodation for you before you return. Check if you can get housing assistance from Safe Home Ireland.

Can I get help to pay my rent?

If you return home to Ireland and have difficulty paying rent, you can apply for housing support from the State.

If you have a long-term housing need when you return, you can apply to your local authority for social housing support. You may have to show a local connection to the area you are applying for, however, in some circumstances, this requirement can be waived.

If you qualify, you will be added to the social housing list. You may have to wait a long time to be allocated social housing. While you are on the waiting list, you can get the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) to help with the cost of renting privately.

In some cases, you may be eligible for rent supplement. This is a short-term income support if you are renting from a private landlord.

Homeless when I return

If you will be homeless when you return to Ireland, you can get emergency accommodation assistance from the local authority in the area in which you have a local connection. As part of this, you need to complete an application for social housing. You can read more on the housing supports available for homeless people.

Buying a home when I return to Ireland

Before you look into buying a home, review your finances and decide what you can afford to spend. Make sure you can cover all the costs involved in buying a home, including legal fees, insurance, stamp duty, deposit and monthly mortgage repayments.

If you apply for a mortgage, you will be asked for bank account statements and proof of income. Lenders will also look at your credit history. This may include your credit history both in Ireland and abroad. When returning to Ireland, make sure to bring all relevant financial documentation home with you.

You should get approval in principle before you begin looking at suitable properties. The amount of money you can get as a mortgage loan, and the amount you need as a deposit are governed by Central Bank lending limits - see Taking out a mortgage for details of these rules.

You can begin your search for properties online using accommodation websites like daft.ie and myhome.ie. You can also contact estate agents in the area you would like to live to ask about available properties. You can read about the steps involved in buying a home.

Can I buy a home before I return to Ireland?

You do not have to be resident in Ireland to buy a property. However, if you want to apply for mortgage in Ireland, you must meet certain criteria. Read about the steps involved in buying a home.

Can I apply for an affordable housing scheme when I return?

If you have not previously purchased a property in Ireland or abroad, you may be eligible for the First Home Scheme (FHS). The FHS is a shared equity scheme, where the State and participating banks pay up to 30% of the cost of your new home in return for a stake in the home. You must also plan to use the property as your main home.

There is a similar local authority affordable home scheme where the local authority buys a stake in your home. However, this scheme only applies in certain areas.

You may be eligible for the Help to Buy Scheme. This scheme gives a refund of the income tax and Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) you have paid in Ireland in the previous 4 tax years. However, you must have paid a certain amount of tax in Ireland in the last 4 years to be eligible.

Read more about the help available when buying a home.

Can I get nursing home care when I return to Ireland?

If you or a family member needs nursing home care when you return, you need to choose a nursing home that meets your needs. You can find a list of registered nursing homes on the HIQA website. The HSE also has a guide to choosing a nursing home (pdf).

If you need help paying for nursing home care, you can apply to the Nursing Home Support Scheme, also known as the Fair deal scheme. You must be ordinarily resident in Ireland to qualify for the Fair Deal scheme.

Under Fair Deal, you pay a certain amount towards the cost of your care and the HSE pays the rest. Fair Deal covers approved private nursing homes, voluntary nursing homes and public nursing homes.

If you choose to pay for nursing home care privately, you must pay the full cost of the private nursing home directly.

Useful contacts

Threshold

21 Stoneybatter
Dublin 7
Ireland

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel: 1800 454 454
Fax: (01) 677 2407

Threshold

Dublin Outreach Clinic
Co. Council Office
Grove Road
Blanchardstown
Co. Dublin

Opening Hours: Tuesday 2pm - 5pm
Tel: (01) 635 3651

Threshold

22 South Mall
Cork
Ireland

Opening Hours: Mon - Fri: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
Tel: (021) 427 8848
Fax: (021) 480 5111

Threshold

5 Prospect Hill
Galway
Ireland
H91 HC1H

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel: (091) 563 080
Fax: (091) 569 273

Page edited: 19 August 2022