Supply fails to meet accommodation demand

Originally published in Volume III, Issue 1 on 30th September 1996 by Caroline Earley. This year is believe to be one of the toughest in recent years for student seeking accommodation in Dublin. The lack of available places is due to a number of factors. These include a large increase in college places throughout Dublin which had resulted in an upsurge in the numbers seeking housing. There has also been a dramatic drop of about 2000 in the last 2 years of flats  on offer in the Ranelagh/Rathmines area.Many houses in the traditional flatland area have been sold on as private residence, says Fiona Kenny, SU Accommodation and Employment Officer. With the current projects for the inner city renewal is mainly apartments which are being advertised for rental. A one bedroom apartment costs between £350-£400 a month, clearly beyond the range of any student budget. Most of the offers this year rest with digs accommodation. Ms Kenny is advising people to avail of digs, not only because it is  reasonable price wise, but also because of the limited choice elsewhere. Digs cost approximately £55 for Monday to Friday and £70 for the full week. It can be an attractive option for first year students who may find the transition from living at home to living away a difficult prospect at first. Kenny acknowledges that digs may not appeal to second, third or fourth year students.Erasmus students tend to have a particularly trying time finding accommodation owing to the fact that most of them will only be in Ireland for one semester. However, students who are lone parents would appear to fare worse. “Landlords”, according to Ms Kenny, “are reluctant to accept rent-allowance as a means of payment”. She goes on to say that “some lone-parents have to spent up to 2 months looking for accommodation in the summer.” On campus accommodation costs £40 per week plus bills. Again, the demand far outweighs the availability, with places being offered on a lottery basis only. The lottery itself took place on the last weekend of August, leaving very little time for unsuccessful applicants to look elsewhere. The prospect of being without residence has led many students to act impulsively and fall into certain traps - some have been known to send deposits to landlords prior to viewing. Ms. Kenny calls this a “drastic mistake” and strongly advises against it. The accommodation office recommends staying in a cheap hotel for a few days while searching for something permanent rather than making pre-payments on a place without viewing it first. Unfortunately it is not feasible for the student accommodation office to examine all places which arrive into the SU. Feedback, then, is appreciated and students are encouraged to keep well informed. An up-to-date blacklist of problem landlords is maintained by the office, as is available for reference by students.