With more purpose-built accommodation springing up, Ruth Murphy questions how this will contribute to the crisis.
As an FOI sourced by the College Tribune showed, UCD residences’ occupancy rates have been static in the last few years. In an accommodation crisis it is no surprise that all available options are full and that new accommodation is being built across Dublin. Developers can guarantee that their properties will be filled, even if rents rise. This is where one of the major problems with our accommodation crisis sits. Universities and companies can charge whatever they want and not suffer the consequences. Instead they will make money on the backs of a national crisis with government support as they are alleviating a great burden on the state. Meanwhile students with less money are effectively forced away from accommodation and may end up sleeping on couches even if their family do manage to afford to send them to university with or without SUSI grants.
According to a report by city planner John O’Hara to the Dublin City Council roughly 80,000 students currently live in Dublin and the Dublin area is short 16,000–18,000 beds to accommodate these students. The number of students is set to rise and no doubt these new students will need beds. According to the report, in December 2016 there were just over 9,100 beds available in Dublin. The report highlights that the building of 5,835 bed-spaces had been approved for construction but of these, at the time of the report, fewer than 500 had been built and just 1,749 were under construction.
“According to the report, in December 2016 there were just over 9100 beds available in Dublin.”
The council’s City Development Plan’s policy QH31 states that the council plans “to support the provision of high-quality, professionally managed and purpose-built third-level student accommodation on campuses or in appropriate locations close to the main campus, in the inner city or adjacent to high-quality public transport corridors and cycle routes, in a manner which respects the residential amenity and character of the surrounding area.”
As that which makes money succeeds best in this country it appears to be the most expensive or luxury accomodation that is being built while cheaper options might not surpass the planning stages.
Dublin City Council wishes to prevent there being a high concentration of student accomodation in one area. Suggestions have been made to restrict the amount of accomodation in a one kilometre radius or a quarter of a kilometre radius. With expensive accomodation going ahead this may mean that cheaper options will face more difficulty finding a suitable location.
New Mill, a luxury site located in the Liberties is charging from €249 to €345 per week and is completely sold out for the coming college year. According to their website, for this luxury price you get broadband, bicycle storage, and floor to ceiling windows among other things. How floor to ceiling windows are to help a student’s college experience is unclear. A similar option, Buckley Hall, in the city centre offers spaces from €178 per week to €1090 for a seven bedroom apartment. If you so wish you could rent a seven bedroom apartment to yourself while many cannot afford a single bed. Well, you can only rent it if you book for the summer as it is full for the year. According to their website, Buckley Hall offers facilities including free waste disposal and security in the form of “fob access and remote monitoring.” Car parking is also available “upon request.” Dorset Point, set up by the American property giant Hines, charges at least €235 per room and is also booked out for the year. Aparto, who run the space, as well the Montrose accommodation, offer a gym and a house dog or cat at each location. Montrose still has a few rooms to spare. You can get a classic ensuite or superior ensuite for €255 or €288 per week.
“It is good to know that a cinema is an integral part of student accommation while fair rates are not.”
The government has little problem with this. The council mentioned in its planning conditions for making sure the sole use of these new sites is student accomodation that “the ancillary facilities including the gym, cinema and café/restaurant at ground floor level shall be retained as an integral part of the student accommodation.” It is good to know that a cinema is an integral part of student accommation while fair rates are not.
How is one to attend university outside of their home town if this is the accommodation available and there is isn’t even enough of it? Many may turn to daft.ie in search of homes and rooms to rent and may find the horrors highlighted by the SU’s snapchat campaign. Mouldy bathrooms and a month’s rent asked for in advance should be expected. Scammers can also take advantage of students as they are in such desperate need of accommodation. Never give a deposit without seeing the property first.
Student accomodation is being built to combat the accomodation crisis but there is not enough of it and it is not available to all. Let them eat daft.