The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the fundamental importance of secure, affordable and quality housing. However, it has also revealed the precariousness of housing for many and how pre-existing inequalities have been amplified by a global health emergency. The private rental sector has long been considered a precarious tenure, owing to weaker regulation, the temporary leases and a power imbalance between the rights of tenants and the interests of landlords. This article mobilises the concept of precarity to explore the lived experiences of tenants navigating Ireland’s rental sector, the challenges they face regarding housing affordability, security, quality and accessibility, and the ways the pandemic has intensified their experience of housing precarity. The research is operationalised through 28 interviews with renters from Dublin’s inner-city, suburbs and commuter belt. The concept of precarity captures the economic importance of housing for financial well-being and security, as well as the non-economic functions of home as an emotional conduit for belonging, ontological security and mental health.