UCD to increase rent by 4% each year for the next three years

Anger rises among students in UCD at the proposed increases

University College Dublin (UCD) is set to increase rent prices for accommodation by 12% over the next three years, meaning some accommodation will rise to almost €10,000 a year by 2023. 

The increase, which is the maximum permitted under rent increase caps, has been met with anger from students. University College Dublin Students’ Union (UCDSU) is calling for “immediate reversal of this decision”, which was announced on Tuesday without “any consultation with student representatives”, the union says.

UCDSU President Joanna Siewierska stated: “It is shocking to see Ireland’s largest public university use student accommodation to make a profit and do nothing to help students manage the crippling rents in Dublin.”

She added: “Students are already being locked out of education by the housing crisis. We are seeing fewer and fewer students from outside of Dublin choosing to study in UCD, and little or no increase in students from lower socio-economic backgrounds coming to our university.”

“This decision by UCD management shows they don’t care about this reality,” she said. 

UCD made €27.5m in rental income from student accommodation in 2017. This was around €10.3m more than it made in 2014.

A spokesperson for UCD replied that the rent increase was implemented to secure adequate funding for the maintenance of existing on-campus student accommodation and the provision of 3,000 new beds, 924 to come on stream in September.

The spokesperson stated that the university is conscious that while the new legislation allows reductions or discount rents, increases are capped at 4%  a year.

She said: “The university is currently constructing new residences and a student village. This development is costing in the region of €500m and is funded largely through bank loans.”

“These new residences will command a higher rent averaging €257 per week for 38 weeks,” she added, noting that the college funds specific services to support students living on campus.

The most expensive student accommodation rooms would increase from €8,815 a year to €9,900 under the new increase plans, while accommodation in the other student housing blocks on the Belfield campus would increase from €7,114 to €8,000 for the academic year.

Last year, Ireland’s seven universities lobbied for college-owned student accommodations to be exempt from new legislation which extended rent caps to purpose-built student accommodation. The legislation, enacted last year, brought student accommodation under existing legislation which puts a 4% rent increase cap on accommodation in designated pressure zones.

In Trinity, rates for accommodation on-campus and in Trinity Hall (Halls) increased by up to 6% for the 2019/2020 academic year, with the cost of rooms in Front Square, New Square and Botany Bay exceeding €8,000 for the first time. 

A Dublin City Council report on student housing published last April forecast that that bed numbers in purpose-built student accommodation would meet only a third of demand in Dublin by 2025.

Shannon Connolly

Shannon Connolly is the Editor-in-Chief of the 69th volume Trinity News, and a Senior Sophister student of English Literature and Philosophy. She previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.