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