In a statement released today, the UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) has put forward proposals aimed at offering relief and stimulating growth in the student accommodation market.

UCDSU is calling for the re-introduction of the Section 50 tax relief scheme. The scheme, which allowed investors or Universities to claim up to 90% tax relief against the rent they collect, was phased out in 2012 as part of a Government plan to ensure stability in the property market.

‘We are calling on the Government to re-introduce this scheme in the forthcoming budget’ explained Feargal Hynes, UCDSU President. While the reasoning for removing the scheme in 2012 is understood by the union, Hynes believes that the situation has since changed greatly and that the student accommodation market is now in crisis.

The statement argues that the re-introduction of the scheme can offer stimulus to the market. “This scheme, we believe will allow students in the future to rent affordable, clean and safe housing while providing a secure option for both developers and those investors who want a consistent return on their investments” Hynes explained.

UCDSU has also called on the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) to release houses in the vicinity of universities to alleviate pressure on students looking for accommodation in these high demand areas.  Hynes stated that “with the amount of housing left vacant by virtue of the fact that they are in NAMA, this necessarily inflates the price of both the rental and sales market.”

Hynes concluded: “We are therefore calling on NAMA to release these houses onto the market. Even if they are specifically for the student market this will have the effect of taking these students out of the normal rental market in Dublin thus hopefully deflating the price for both the student and normal market.’

The statement points to a growing concern that the ongoing student housing crisis will affect Ireland’s education reputation internationally, citing the Government’s intentions to increase the amount of international students to 25,000 by 2015 coupled with increased numbers of Irish students carrying on to third level.