NUI Galway Students’ Union Welcomes Private Members Bill on Student Accommodation
NUI Galway Students’ Union is today encouraging members of the Oireachtas to vote in favour of the Student Accommodation Bill before the Dáil. The amendment would give students living in student-specific accommodation, under licence, access to the Residential Tenancies Board and inclusion in the rent pressure zones. The current situation has resulted in students rents rising, in some instances, by 18% per annum.
Until this issue is legislated for, students of NUI Galway can neither budget nor plan for their future as they have no certainty regarding the level of rent that they will be paying. Nowhere has this been more evident than in Cúirt Na Coiribe, which increased its rent by 18% between 2017/18 and 2018/19 rates.
Speaking on the issue today, Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, Students’ Union President said: “This Bill is an encouraging step by members of the Dáil to recognise and rectify the legal loophole which allows for students, some of the most financially vulnerable in Ireland, to be the ones exposed and exploited to the most insidious rent increases year on year”
“A study on the 8 main purpose built student accommodations in Galway carried out by NUI Galway Students’ Union has found that whilst student rent had remained relatively static from the period of 2009 to 2014, it has since increased by an average of 35% between 2014/15 to 2018/19.”
“At a time when the government recognises the need to protect the right to education, the lack of affordable and protected accommodation dilutes this right for those who simply can’t afford it. NUI Galway is a University comprised of students from all across the island of Ireland and the world. We cannot become an elitist University only accessible to those who can afford to absorb the ever rising cost of rent.”
For more information, contact:
Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh
NUI Galway Students’ Union
Ph. 086 385 5502
UPDATE: 7th June 2018 Students’ Unions and TDs Issue Plea to Galway Landlords
UPDATE: 29th May 2018 NUI Galway Students’ Union Welcomes Private Members Bill on Student Accommodation
Friday 4th May 2018
The NUI Galway Students’ Union most strongly condemns the planned increases to Cúirt na Coiribe student accommodation rent for the academic year 2018/19. Cúirt na Coiribe has housed NUI Galway students since the year 2000 and has always provided for students who have come from outside of Galway and overseas to study here. Furthermore, they have many students who return year on year to their accommodation.
The planned rent increases of 18% means a student could be paying an additional €1,000 for a nine month / 39 week lease following a change in ownership in 2018.
Today, Cúirt na Coiribe released its priority booking to current residents by email, stating that if they want to avail of this option that it opens on Wednesday 9th May and will open to the general public on the 15th May. Detailed in this email it was advised that students take advantage of this one week notice to book their place for the coming academic year “as given the high demand currently we will book out immediately once the general public apply”. The statement is clear, if you cannot afford the 18% rent increase, you will be immediately priced out of Cúirt Na Coiribe accommodation.
What this means is that today, the student residents of Cúirt Na Coiribe have returned to their accommodation from their first week of exams. Their attention will not be on their next exam, but rather, on how they can commit to an immediate increase of €1,000 to ensure they can return to Galway, have a roof over their head and continue their studies. It is these students for whom we are greatly concerned.
We are also concerned for the potential college student about to sit the Leaving cert, who is looking at college accommodation; only to realise that it is far beyond their reach. The student who has worked a part time job to save for their deposit, only to discover that they are now not going to be able to afford their accommodation anymore. Students are one of the groups most sharply affected by the accommodation crisis, and this unprecedented increase, which comes without warning or reason, seems to be a gross attempt to take advantage of that. Over half of NUI Galway students are on a grant, we see students in our offices everyday who are struggling to stay in college for financial reasons. We cannot stand by and watch students be exploited by this increase.
We are asking for affordable accommodation for all students. This increase seems nothing short of the manipulation of students under financial pressure. It is extremely concerning that these rent increases have been announced around exam time, on a Friday evening on a bank holiday with an extremely short timespan for people to get a deposit in.
We are calling on Galway City, where students are a valued part of the community, on The National University of Galway, Ireland, where students are at the heart of everything they do, and most importantly on Cúirt Na Coiribe; to recognise the striking blow this increase represents to student residents and work with us to rectify this wrong. We also call on the Government to introduce rent caps in student accommodation in line with the consumer price index.
We welcome any opportunity to sit down with the management of Cúirt na Coiribe, to discuss these increases.
How To Get Involved in the campaign against #CúirtShakedown
- Attend our protest at 1pm on Tuesday 8th of May 2018 at Cúirt na Coiribe (meet outside the Library at 12.30pm)
- Sign the petition here
- Use #CúirtShakedown on social media to say no to the exploitation of NUI Galway Students
- Email email@example.com to help out with the campaign
All press queries should be directed to the SU President Lorcán on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 086 385 5502.
NUI Galway Students’ Union Urges Caution Booking Student Accommodation
With the first round of CAO Offers being issued next Monday thousands of students across the country will now find themselves looking for accommodation for the 2017/18 academic year. Housing for students has been an issue in the past and NUI Galway Students’ Union urges students to be careful before committing to a private residence this year. Before rushing into signing a lease/contract it is extremely important to make sure the property fits then needs of all tenants.
Here are some handy tips before signing a lease:
- Take your time when viewing a property. Ensure all the necessities are there e.g. washing machine, furnishings etc.
- Take photos of the property and make sure to highlight any damages already there e.g. Cigarette burns, carpet stains etc.
- When viewing the property, check that all gas and electrical appliances are in good working order.
- If there are any repairs to be made in the property, be sure to get it in writing from the landlord or agency that these problems will be rectified before handing over your deposit.
- Avoid paying the deposit in cash and ensure you get a receipt for any moneys exchanged. You are legally entitled to a receipt so make sure to insist on one.
- Request a viewing prior to the move in date to ensure that all outstanding issues have been rectified.
- Ensure the house is well ventilated and that heating sources are identified prior to signing a contract/lease.
- Insist that a building energy rating (BER) certificate is provided prior to signing the contract. This will help you know how cold the house is likely to get and will give you an idea of the cost for heating.
- Ensure you are clear on the duration of the tenancy. If you sign a lease and leave early you may be liable to pay outstanding rent even though you are no longer living there.
- Make sure it’s clearly outlined in your lease which utility bills you must pay.
- Take out contents insurance as the landlord’s policy will not cover your personal possessions.
- Make sure to get a free rent book from the Students’ Union particularly if you are paying your rent in cash and have the landlord sign the book and give you a receipt.
Students’ Union President Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh said: “Finding accommodation can be extremely stressful and people tend to rush into it. It is paramount that you follow these guidelines and ensure that the house you live in will be sustainable for you and your friends. Never rush into getting accommodation, be cautious and insist on receipts and any repairs where necessary. This will be where you stay for nine months so make sure you have all the necessities before making any commitments. Students still seeking accommodation should check www.nuigstudentpad.ie/Accommodation”
NUI Galway Students’ Union is a democratic organisation whose mission is “to represent its members and promote, defend and vindicate the rights of its members at all levels of society.
GMIT and NUI Galway Students’ Union Reject ‘Not In My Backyard’ Attitude To Student Accommodation From Galway ResidentsNews & Events
GMIT and NUI Galway Students’ Union Reject ‘Not In My Backyard’ Attitude To Student Accommodation From Galway Residents
GMIT Students’ Union and NUI Galway Students’ Union today reject local resident and councillors opposition to the development of high end student accommodation in Galway. The resistance comes as plans to replace the Westwood Hotel with 400 beds for students have been met with heated opposition from 200 Newcastle and Dangan residents with support from local councillors.
GMIT Students’ Union Mark O’Brien stated, “The language used by residents that there shouldn’t be student accommodation in ‘our estates’ is a classic example of Not In My Backyard. Students have proven themselves to be valuable assets to any local community, and contribute to the local economy everyday. We feel that councillors jumping in on this discriminatory blockade should have heard all sides of the story first. We have an accommodation crisis spreading through families, students and other groups with rents going through the roof. This number of beds will alleviate the pressure from the 20,000 students in GMIT and NUI Galway scrambling for somewhere to sleep.”
NUI Galway Students’ Union President Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh went on to say, “A few years ago redevelopment and increasing capacity of Trinity Hall in Rathgar was met with resistance of the local community protesting against over-concentration of students in that area. Today, the Hall that accommodates 1,000 students is well integrated into community and offers student housing in a convenient location. Diverse and well-balanced local communities have a great potential for regeneration, civic activities and engagement.”
President of the Union of Students in Ireland, Michael Kerrigan, commented, “With the integrated national approach to student accommodation reflected in regional policies, we believe that both the Council and An Bord Pleanála have been equipped with tools to ensure balanced development of the communities and take a strategic approach to spatial distribution and concentration of particular social groups, particularly students, who are particularly vulnerable group facing the housing crisis.”
The National Student Accommodation Strategy published in July identifies the importance of providing dedicated and additional student accommodation to avoid putting additional pressures on the private rental sector, particularly in and around the many universities and third-level institutions in urban areas, and puts actions in place to end the shortage. The Union of Students in Ireland have indicated concern with pockets of residents looking to prevent student accommodation being constructed in local areas, and urge residents to be mindful of damaging stereotypes of students.