NUI Galway Students’ Union condemns unprecedented rent increases in Student Accommodation
NUI Galway Students’ Union has publicly called out the Menlo Park Apartment complex for the rent increases it has come out with this week. The apartments, located on the Headford Road and privately owned, accommodate about 140 NUI Galway students every year. Prices have been rising steadily year on year, but the increase this year have seen the price of a single en-suite room rise by €1,390 compared to last year’s prices, which is an increase of 20%.
Megan Reilly, President of the Students’ Union, said: “It is beyond frustrating that a year after our efforts protesting the accommodation price rise in Cúirt na Coiribe, we are facing yet another such increase in one of our accommodation providers. These kind of rent increases not captured by the Residential Tenancies Act exploit students in a time of an accommodation crisis, and they must not go unchallenged.”
Last year a commitment was made by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government that the Government would move to introduce legislation that would extend the 4% rent cap rule to purpose built student accommodation, but nothing has come of this yet. According to the Residential Tenancies Board, Rent Pressure Zones are designated areas where rent can only be increased by up to 4% a year. Located in parts of the country where rents are highest and rising, they are intended to moderate the rise in rents in these areas and create a stable and sustainable rental market.
Megan added: “The failure of the Government to act on this matter means unregulated rent increases in Student Accommodation continue to happen, while the private housing surrounding these areas is bound by the 4% rule. Soaring Accommodation prices continue to be one of the biggest barriers to securing a Third Level education, with parents now being faced with paying the increase, or students having to work extra hours to afford to live in Galway.”
NUI Galway Students’ Union Files Case against Student Accommodation Provider
NUI Galway Students’ Union has officially filed a case against Galway student accommodation provider, Cúirt na Coiribe, through the Residential Tenancies Board. Cúirt na Coribe increased their average rates by 18% for the coming academic year – a decision that was communicated to current student residents while they were sitting their summer exams. The decision to file this case follows Eoin Ó Broin’s (Sinn Féin TD) Private Members Bill – The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections) Bill 2018 – passing in May.
Speaking on the issue today, Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, Students’ Union President said: “Following advice from public representatives, University colleagues and our own counsel we have filed a case through the Residential Tenancies Board against Cúirt na Coiribe Galway. NUI Galway Students’ Union will represent a 2017/18 tenant of Cúirt na Coiribe who was a victim of the 18% rent increase. We hope that this case will send a strong message to other student accommodation management companies across the country that students and their families will not stand by and allow their education to be put at risk due to the ever increasing cost of accommodation imposed by these companies. NUI Galway cannot become an elitist University only accessible to those who can afford to absorb the ever rising cost of rent.”
NUI Galway Students’ Union has been engaging with housing spokespersons such as Eoin Ó Broin TD (Sinn Féin), Darragh O’Brien TD (Fianna Fáil), Minister Seán Kyne, Catherine Connolly TD and Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor and will continue to fight to hold management companies to account through collaboration with all relevant officials and parties.
Pictured: NUI Galway Students taking part in the #CúirtShakedown protest in May
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to help out with the campaign
All press queries should be directed to the SU President Lorcán on email@example.com or phone 086 385 5502.