NUI Galway Students’ Union Urges Caution Booking Student Accommodation
With the first round of CAO Offers being issued next week thousands of students across the country will now find themselves looking for accommodation for the 2020/21 academic year. Housing for students has been an issue in the past and NUI Galway Students’ Union urges students to be cautious 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 the needs of all tenants and to look out for rental scams. There are properties available so don’t panic and make sure you keep a close eye on all the accommodation websites especially www.nuigstudentpad.ie
Here are some handy tips:
- Be aware of the following rental scams: Scammer claims to be out of the country so can’t show you the property but requests a deposit. Scammer is living at the property, and shows a number of people around. They get a deposit from several people and then flee with the cash. The transaction appears to have gone smoothly until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared.
- Take your time when viewing a property. Ensure all the necessities are there e.g. washing machine, furnishings etc. Check that all gas and electrical appliances are in good working order.
- Take photos of the property and make sure to highlight any damages already there e.g. Cigarette burns, carpet stains etc.
- 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 your free rent book from the Students’ Union.
NUI Galway Students’ Union President Pádraic Toomey said: “Finding accommodation can be extremely stressful and people tend to rush into it. It is paramount that you follow these guidelines to avoid scams 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 at least nine months so make sure you have all the necessities before making any commitments. Students still seeking accommodation should check www.nuigstudentpad.ie ”
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