USI deputy accuses colleges of introducing 'hefty rent increases before they are capped'

USI deputy accuses colleges of introducing 'hefty rent increases before they are capped'

Students say they are facing a growing accommodation crisis, with every college in the country increasing the cost of their on-campus living for the new academic term.

Rents at university-owned accommodation are rising, just as new rules come into effect next week which cap increases at 4%.

Roebuck Castle at UCD is the most expensive student accommodation, costing more than €11,500, while the cost of staying at University College Cork has risen the most – with rents at its Mardyke Hall up 11.5%.

UCC management are blaming the increase on refurbishment works.

The highest rise in Dublin was at Trinity College where rents are up 5.57%; however, costs are also up at the rest of Dublin's colleges.

Rents at the University of Limerick are up 6.2% while Maynooth prices are up 4.4%.

On Newstalk Breakfast, the President of the Union of Students in Ireland Lorna Fitzpatrick said the hikes are not surprising.

“These increases came just ahead of the introduction of the 4% rent caps for purpose-built student accommodation,” she said.

“So, universities were trying to increase rents before they come into play, from next week onwards.”

“This is placing significant financial pressure on students and on their families.”

The new rent caps for student housing come into force on August 15.

Ms Fitzpatrick said she believes colleges are using rents to make up for a shortfall in funding:

“The universities have done this to try and fill a gap I suppose that has been left by lack of Government action in terms of a funding model for higher education,” she said.

UCC student Kieran English lives on campus and said he is disappointed by the rent rise.

Mr English said: "Last year I was living in Victoria Lodge and it cost €5,500 for the two semesters and we are just after getting the bill for this year, and for the two upcoming semesters it's going to cost €6,068.

"I'm disappointed because, as happy as I was at Victoria Lodge, I don't think anyone can explain that rapid rise in the space of a year."

Deputy President of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), Michelle Byrne, is accusing colleges of a last-ditch effort to raise revenue before the new rent caps come in.

Ms Byrne said: "The colleges are trying to get in those rent increases, so they are not limited by how much they can bring in as an income stream to the college.

"We've known that this legislation was coming down the road this last year and a half, after the initial protests then and the colleges were aware of that too, but it has been taking too long and the colleges were well able to get themselves in line to put in a hefty increase before they were capped."


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