Homeowners urged to rent rooms to ease student accommodation crisis

‘Rent-a-room’ plan means property owners do not pay tax on rent up to €14,000 a year

The cost to students of on-campus accommodation has increased markedly in recent years across all seven universities, with students in Dublin universities seeing the largest rise

The cost to students of on-campus accommodation has increased markedly in recent years across all seven universities, with students in Dublin universities seeing the largest rise

 

Ministers have appealed to homeowners to consider renting out rooms to college students to help ease a crisis in accommodation.

Under the “rent-a-room” scheme homeowners do not have to pay tax on rent of up to €14,000 a year.

The shortage of affordable accommodation for students is so acute in some parts of the country that many students are reconsidering their CAO offers.

Minister for Education Richard Bruton has conceded that while thousands of units of purpose-built student accommodation are due to come on-stream over the coming years, it would be too late for this year’s students.

“In the immediate term the Minister for Finance has increased the allowance for a householder to be able to rent a room out tax free to €14,000. That is a significant incentive to be able to offer a more traditional digs arrangement which was popular in the past. The USI [Union of Students Ireland] has a scheme to promote that.”

Minister of State with responsibility for higher education Mary Mitchell O’Connor urged students, parents and homeowners to consider the option. “Digs are a really good solution for parents and especially for young people coming to university for the first time.”

Accommodation

The cost to students of on-campus accommodation has increased markedly in recent years across all seven universities, with students in Dublin universities seeing the largest rise.

Nonetheless, thousands of students are on waiting lists for campus rooms, with nearly all college accommodation fully booked up.

University College Dublin’s student rooms are the most expensive, with accommodation costing between €6,792 and €8,334 in September. UCD has raised the price of on-campus rent by an average of 38 per cent since 2014.

Campus accommodation in DCU, University of Limerick, University College Cork and NUI Galway is also almost fully booked.

Government rent caps limiting annual increases to 4 per cent do not apply to student residences as they fall under “licence to reside” agreements and are not official tenancy leases.

College year

Trinity College Dublin increased its rent by 10 per cent for this September after residences rates were bumped up by 4 per cent last year. Accommodation costs for the college year range from €5,546 at Trinity Halls in Rathmines to €7,165 in the front square.

The cost of NUI Galway on-campus accommodation rose 3 per cent last year to about €5,000 per room. A spokeswoman said the price of existing residences would not increase in September.

In NUI Maynooth, the cost ranges from €4,580 to €5,834 this year after a 2 per cent increase from September.