Amidst housing crisis, USI calls on homeowners to open up rooms to students

USI are promoting their “Homes for Study” initiative

The Union of Students Ireland (USI) is urging homeowners across Ireland to open their spare rooms as student accommodation.

USI President Siona Cahill, speaking about USI’s “Homes for Study” initiative, explained that homeowners can avail of the website homes.usi.ie to sign up to use their spare room as digs. “Using homes.usi.ie is a win-win for homeowners, especially parents whose children have flown the nest, or who are attending college on the other side of the country,” said Cahill.

“The process takes less than five minutes to complete on homes.usi.ie and you can help take the pressure off of students trying to find accommodation that goes beyond their monthly income,” Cahill continued.

Promoting USI’s “Homes for Study” initiative, over 100,000 leaflets have been posted to homes around Dublin, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford informing them of the benefits of opening their doors to students for the school year. The leaflet contains details on how to register the spare room of their home for digs online.

Homeowners can make up to €14,000 tax-free annually by renting out a room to students for five or seven nights a week during the school year. Most students, new and returning, are to move to college in less than six weeks, with many still in need of accommodation for the year.

USI is placing continuing pressure on the government to increase the production of affordable purpose-built student housing while hoping that the “Homes for Study” programme will help to alleviate pressure on students trying to find rentals or apartments.

Student accommodation has come to attention in recent months with students in Dublin City University (DCU) and National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) leading the #ShanowenShakedown and #CúirtShakedown protests, respectively, against the cost of rent set by student accommodation providers. Today, a case from NUIG Students’ Union (NUIGSU) is to be heard by the Residential Tenancies Board. The case was filed after student accommodation provider Cúirt na Coiribe increased student rents by 18% in May.

Concerns over the supply of affordable housing in Dublin have led Dublin City Council to review its housing development strategy in the capital. Speaking to Trinity News, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Shane De Rís explained that Dublin City Council, working with the government, “must work to increase the availability of student accommodation to alleviate the strain on the private rental market”.

USI expressed its support of developmental progress in purpose-built student accommodation but is also aware of a continuing 17,000-bed shortfall. Last month, Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin introduced motions to the Dáil calling to cap rent increases on such accommodations, while still encouraging their completion and new building.