Student landlords’ decision to insist on 51-week tenancies a ‘retrograde step’, Irish universities say

Irish Universities Association ‘does not believe there is strong demand’ for longer leases

A decision by two leading private student accommodation operators to offer tenants only 51-week tenancies for the 2024-2025 academic year is a “retrograde step”, the representative body for the Republic’s eight universities has said, and is “not desirable” for the vast majority of students.

Student housing platform Aparto, owned by international property investment giant Hines, and UK operator Yugo recently decided they would no longer offer 41-week leases in line with the college year. Instead, the two landlords – which operate more than 4,500 bed spaces in Dublin and Cork between them – will move to a 51-week model, locking students into an extra 10 or so weeks of rent payments.

Hines previously said the change was driven by “market trends” and an increase in inquiries about lengthier tenancies. The demand for longer leases is said to be driven by postgraduates and medical students who often have longer academic years.

Asked for comment earlier this week, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) said it agreed with the Department of Housing and Department of Further and Higher Education, which said earlier this week that the lengthier leases would not be “desirable for the vast majority”, although there may be some demand from certain students.


“IUA does not believe that there is a strong demand among students for 51-week contracts”, a spokeswoman said in a statement, adding that the longer leases may be an effort by private operators to “to reduce the costs of accommodation turnover, limit the risk of less than 100 per cent summer letting occupancy and offset the rising construction and operating costs”.

Anecdotally, the spokeswoman said there had been an increase in demand from postgraduates and also international students were happy to secure the 51-week term and pay the associated costs.

However, she said: “Ultimately, IUA believes that for the vast majority of students this would be a retrograde step and would make student accommodation less accessible and result in increased costs.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Further and Higher Education told The Irish Times earlier this week that Simon Harris and Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien had instructed their officials to “engage” with student housing operators on the issue. “The Ministers have asked their officials to establish the circumstances and consider what action may follow,” she said.

Ian Curran

Ian Curran

Ian Curran is a Business reporter with The Irish Times