Students4Change (S4C) has recommended that students organise “grassroot renters’ groups” in a report about the standards of College accommodation.
The activist group surveyed 55 students who live in on-campus accommodation, Trinity Hall and Kavanagh Court.
63.6% of respondents live in Trinity Hall, 26.6% live on campus and 12.7% live in Kavanagh Court.
92.7% of respondents said College accommodation is not affordable, while 69.1% said they have struggled with financial difficulties due to the cost of accommodation.
One survey respondent said that their “family is really struggling to afford it and I’ve nowhere else to stay”, while another student said that “two thirds of my wages go toward paying accommodation fee and I’m not treated like an adult in any capacity by the accommodation services”.
One student living in Kavanagh Court said: “People just enter our flats, half the time no notice is given. I watched the building manager just walk into my flatmate’s room while she was sleeping.”
“Last year I was sleeping in my room and the cleaners preparing the flats for the summer entered my room three times on the same day while I was trying to sleep and then shower. It’s absolutely alarming.”
One student said: “We frequently have no hot water and have had issues with kitchen appliances such as our oven not working. There is construction that is going on beside the building that starts early in the morning and has obstructed the entrance to the main door.”
Another student said: “I’ve had a number of maintenance issues over my two year
tenancy that has never been resolved. Last year for example we experienced flooding in our flat, and the smoke detector had to be removed as a result due to the water interfering with the electricity. The smoke detector has not been replaced since.”
One student complained about the strict policies when living in College accommodation: “The overnight guest policy is very strict. There was a period of almost a month over Christmas where overnight guests were not allowed, despite exams finishing up before Christmas.”
Another student said: “Security have come into my apartment numerous times without warning also.”
Another respondent said they have been “priced out of accommodation” and are now “forced to travel three hours a day as a student with a physical disability”.
S4C said this report shows that rents are too high and “place an unfair burden” on students.
They recommended that accommodation be subsidised and provided at a non-profit rate to students.
S4C also said that they do not recommend “milquetoast lobbying or establishing further dialogue with senior management and the government”.
“Instead we appeal to all students to organise themselves in grassroots renters’
groups and proclaim demands for accommodation. Making change will require press
attention, protests, petitions, occupations and rent strikes, such as was done in the North of
Ireland and the United Kingdom.”