UCD Students’ Union is considering a partnership with an external company, Corathlin Ltd, to provide an accommodation service to UCD students.
The SU currently employs an Accommodation Officer from August to October every year. The officer aids students in finding accommodation and dealing with the adjustment period.
It is proposed that Corathlin Ltd would employ the Accommodation Officer on a full-year basis over a long term, “they’d be there twelve months of the year and the Union wouldn’t have to pay the wages, but they would be based around the Student Centre and they would be there to deal with students” explains SU President, Pat de Brún.
The company would develop a website similar to existing accommodation websites, which would be geared solely at UCD students. As the service is to be of no additional cost to UCD students, the company would generate its income from the recruitment of landlords and from advertising on the site.
The Accommodation Officer would still be in place to advise students, but would no longer be a direct employee of the Union. De Brún insists that one of the main stipulations of the deal was that the Officer would assist any student with accommodation problems, regardless of who students are renting accommodation from, be it through Corathlin or privately.
De Brún explains that, “essentially we’d work hand in hand, it’d still be the Union accommodation service but it would be a partnership with an external company. The thing about it is it’s twelve months of the year, it’s there for people coming on Erasmus in January and it’s there for people who have ongoing issues with their accommodation”.
He continues to say that “they will do everything that they can to make sure that all the landlords are registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), that they’re meeting all their obligations – that they’re essentially meeting all best practices, so that students can be looked after. They’re also going to provide an arbitration service if there’s any disputes between landlords and students.”
De Brún describes the service currently in place as “a really valuable [one] and it’s one of our most used and popular services so it’s something that a lot of people depend upon, a lot of traditional students but a lot of international students as well. It’s like their main port of call for finding accommodation”.
Corathlin have stated that “we are very excited by this opportunity, which we are confident will benefit the UCD Students Union, the students, UCD’s brand and we are very keen to get started as soon as possible”.