Accommodation crisis hits UCD students

 
 

An investigation undertaken by the University Observer has revealed the strain that has been placed on student’s seeking accommodation for the forthcoming academic year.

Posing as a student applying for a property viewing, the University Observer was only offered viewings for 3 out of the 82 holdings that were applied to.

Out of the twenty-eight respondents, 54% explicitly stated they would not rent to students.

When the University Observer was informed that certain properties involved in the investigation were no longer on the market, a secondary enquiry was made. For the purposes of the follow up enquiry, the University Observer posed as someone in their early twenties who had full-time employment.

A third of these landlords that had informed the student that the property they applied for had been let, subsequently offered a viewing to the full-time professional.

The sample of properties used for the investigation were exclusively sourced from Daft.ie, a property website commonly used by students searching for accommodation.

During the course of the investigation, the University Observer relied only on properties for rent that appeared in the University College Dublin sub-section of the Daft.ie ‘College Search’ feature.

When approached about this issue, no spokesperson at Daft.ie made themselves available for comment.

Bob Jordan, Chief Executive of Threshold, a housing charity based in Dublin, said that this issue is systemic at present. He voiced sympathy for landlords who have dealt with difficult student tenants in the past. “It’s definitely a landlords market at the moment so places go pretty quickly.

“There are legitimate reasons to turn down a student. They know they can get more rent from professional and longer-term tenants. Professionals make less use of the property, causing less wear and tear. Some landlords will have had a bad experience of students because of damage caused to the property; it’s true of any group of tenants but it is legitimate.”

A Stage 2 Arts student who, at the time of going to print, still had not finalised accommodation for the academic year spoke to the University Observer about their difficulties finding somewhere to live. They said, “[We have viewed] five properties and another guy went to view six houses, but none of them worked out. We found one really good one in Rathmines, but there was a lot of people wanting to look at it that weren’t students.”

University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) President Mícheál Gallagher said that services have been put in place to help students with regard to finding accommodation. “An accommodation advisory service was started [by the SU]. We have had our part-time convenors working on this.

“Overall we have increased accommodation office work from 15 hours a week last year, to 40 plus [hours] this year.”

An area of the UCDSU website has been dedicated by Vice-President for Welfare & Equality, Cian Dowling, to allow landlords to advertise directly to students, while students can also post notices of vacant rooms themselves. However, one of the main resources on this site is still the Daft.ie listings, which proved unsuccessful in our investigation.

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