With Leaving Certificate results to be issued shortly, the hunt for student accommodation for the coming academic year will begin in earnest, but the USI said figures from website daft.ie show securing suitable housing is harder than ever.
It has issued a plea for anyone with spare rooms in and around colleges and universities to rent them out to students.
It cited daft.ie figures which indicated that there is 40% less rental space available than there was this time last year, while rents have increased by more than 8% nationally and more in cities.
In a Red C poll of more than 1,000 people conducted two years ago almost 60% of tenants said they had experienced difficulty in getting their deposit money back. USI president Annie Hoey said the figure is unlikely to have improved and may have gotten worse.
The USI will today launch its Homes for Study campaign, which will include a deposit management service, with some students, particularly those in urban areas, facing into a hunt for suitable accommodation in a crowded rental market.
Ms Hoey said: “We are trying to get people into houses near their institutions.”
The USI today relaunches its website, homes.usi.ie, a room rental registration website for students looking for accommodation and for landlords who can lease vacant rooms to students during the college term tax-free up to the value of €12,000 annually.
Ms Hoey said there has been “a mindset change” in recent years regarding digs accommodation, with people’s attitudes changing from viewing it as an outmoded form of student accommodation to an affordable and often convenient way of attending college.
“Very often they can be quite near where you are studying,” she said, adding that in some cases people with spare rooms can avail of the non-taxable earnings which would be “of huge benefit” to them.
Today’s launch will also feature USI’s partnership with Deposify, an Irish start-up offering a deposit management service for landlords and tenants. It effectively places the deposit amount in a holding account and links in with a disputes service if it’s required.
The USI said that student tenants can register at deposify.com for access to the service.