Concerns have been raised about the listing of some of Cork’s newest student apartments on Airbnb.
Guests can pay up to €550 per night to stay at the five-bed apartments in Lee Point, on the former Beamish & Crawford site.
The apartments are available for short-term rents for the summer months, with its new student population due to move in late August ahead of the 2020/21 academic year.
While the operation of student apartments as tourist accommodation during the summer is within the developer’s planning permission, the listing has drawn criticism.
The five-bed apartments are listed as accommodating up to ten guests, with prices varying depending on the booking.
On May 10, for example, guests will pay a total of €463, including a €63 service charge. On Saturday, July 11, guests will have to pay €555, of which €75 is a service fee.
The apartments are operated by Uninest, which also operates the Amnis House student accommodation on Western Road, near the gates of UCC.
In 2019, An Bord Pleanála reviewed the operation of Amnis House as short-term tourist accommodation and determined that such use outside term times did not contravene planning conditions. However, it was clarified that it would not be permissible to do so all year-round.
A spokesperson for Cork City Council confirmed that using the Lee Point apartments as tourist accommodation is within its planning permission.
“The use of Lee Point student residences as accommodation that is used as tourist or visitor accommodation outside of academic term times is within the scope of the definition of ‘student accommodation’ as set out in section 13 (d) of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act, 2016 as amended,” they said.
“Any planning enforcement complaints received will be considered and investigated where appropriate. However, the definition of ‘student accommodation’ includes the use of residential accommodation as tourist or visitor accommodation outside of academic term times, and at this time it does not appear that the premises is being used for tourist or visitor accommodation within term times,” they added.
In a statement, Uninest said the use of the premises for short-term letting outside academic terms is “entirely in keeping with the permitted use of student accommodation”.
Former Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Mick Finn has criticised the pricing attached to the development.
Students will be paying approximately €1,000 per month when they move in.
Mr Finn said: “Clearly, these apartments - whether during the academic season or the summer - are all about generating money. €500 per night is obscene and of course, we would much rather there was movement on the event centre element of the site. The idea that developments such as these would open up houses for families has also been shown to be a fallacy.”