National University of Ireland, Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) has denounced a 20% rise in the cost of rent in private student accommodation near the university campus.
The Menlo Park Apartment complex, which provides accommodation for around 140 NUI Galway students every year, has been criticised for what has been described as “unprecedented” increases to the cost of rent.
The cost of rent for a single, en-suite room in the complex has risen by €1,390, sparking discontent among students after applications for the 2019/2020 academic year opened on Monday morning.
President of NUI Galway Students’ Union Megan Reilly stated: “These kind of rent increases not captured by the Residential Tenancies Act exploit students in a time of an accommodation crisis, and they must not go unchallenged.”
Reilly criticised the government’s perspective on student accommodation, outlining that “last year a commitment was made by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government that the Government would move to introduce legislation that would extend the 4% rent cap rule to purpose built student accommodation, but nothing has come of this yet”.
Earlier this year NUI Galway Students’ Union (NUIGSU) lost a case against another private student accommodation provider, Cúirt na Coiribe. The case was filed by the union after Cúirt increased rent rates in their accommodation complex by 18%, a move that sparked protests among students.
However, due to the fact that the agreements signed by residents are license agreements rather than leases, the company is exempt from the 4% increase limit for rents, imposed by the government.
Reilly noted that it was “beyond frustrating” that “a year after our efforts protesting the accommodation price rise in Cúirt na Coiribe, we are facing yet another such increase in one of our accommodation providers”.
“Soaring accommodation prices continue to be one of the biggest barriers to securing a third level education, with parents now being faced with paying the increase, or students having to work extra hours to afford to live in Galway,” Reilly explained.