Skyrocketing rents force students to quit college

by Mark O'Brien

The Union of Students in Ireland is urging students who’ve accepted CAO offers to start looking for accommodation immediately.

A new report released by the USI has found 36% of students needed one to three months to find their accommodation, with one in five students starting their search for accommodation in August.

But with news emerging this week that rents across the country have reached an all-time high – increasing by 12% year-on-year according to Daft.ie – the union are urging students to begin their search for accommodation as soon as possible.

The report comes as a UCD student made headlines after liveblogging her accommodation search on Snapchat, in which she exposed how severe the housing situation in Dublin has become.

Katie Ascough went undercover as part of the UCD Student Union’s new campaign to highlight the accommodation crisis.

Her search led her to a “digs” in Crumlin, which in effect was a homemade bed placed above a couch in the living room of a three-bed house already being shared by SIX people. The asking price for this was a shocking €250 a month.

USI President Michael Kerrigan said: “The issue of housing permeates across all groups of our society.

“In recent years, the shortage in student accommodation has forced students, families and professionals to race for accommodation, and compete for somewhere to live.

“In many instances, this competition has pushed students to take accommodation that exists outside of their price range, or to drop out of college.

“More than 25,000 students have already accepted their college places yesterday from the CAO.

“There is still a shortage of accommodation, and students are being crammed into small spaces, with harsh living conditions and horror stories of the state of living.

“While most of the accommodation has already been taken up, anyone who has already accepted their place at college should start making arrangements for accommodation right now before term starts to avoid disappointment.”

The Union says the high cost of accommodation is proving difficult for students, and the cost of rent is leaving no money for food, travel or books.

The report also found over 20% of students experienced unexpected rent increases during term time.

The situation has forced many students to commute great distances every day because they cannot find affordable accommodation.

“I’m from Offaly and I travel four hours to college and four hours back every day, all because of unaffordable accommodation,” said Dun Laoghaire IADT student, Wednesday Montague.

“The excessive travel and stress from missing college because of travel had put me in the hospital.

“The shortage exists, but cost is a factor too.”

The union are advising students to use websites such as Daft.ie and Students’ Union Facebook groups for renting, and to check free websites like homes.usi.ie for digs.

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