Students sleep on couches and in hostels due to rental shortage

One postgraduate student has been living in a 10-bed tourist hostel dorm

Trinity student Lily Brennan (22) who is unable to find accommodation and is living on friend’s couches. Photograph: Jack Power

Trinity student Lily Brennan (22) who is unable to find accommodation and is living on friend’s couches. Photograph: Jack Power

 

Students unable to find rental accommodation have been left sleeping on friend’s couches and staying in tourist hostels in Dublin as the college term began this month.

Lily Brennan (22), a third year philosophy student at Trinity College Dublin, has been sleeping on friends’ and relatives’ couches and floors after failing to find anywhere to rent in Dublin before the college term started.

“I am staying with family members and friends when I can but there’s only so many people you can ask to help you,” she said.

Last year she was able to rent a room for €500 a month, along with a friend, but the sharp increase in rent prices means she has not been able to find somewhere affordable this year. Her family home is in Kilkenny and she would face more than a two-hour commute if she moved home for the term.

Lily said privately run student accommodation, where providers charged upwards of €230 a week for a room, was unrealistic for most students. “I think most professionals would struggle to pay that kind of money,” she said.

She said many of her friends in college had also found it much harder to secure a room this year compared to previous years.

“I have viewed rooms with landlords that are asking for cash only with no contract, or have far too many people in houses to be safe, and every day I find at least one scam online,” she said. Trinity, the last college to start back in September, begin their teaching term on Monday.

Hostel

Sreemukh Kovuri (23) is an international student who travelled to Ireland to do a masters degree in international management at Trinity. He has been sleeping in tourist hostels as he has not be able to find accommodation.

He arrived in Ireland at the start of September, and was not able to line up any rental accommodation from abroad before flying into Dublin. Sreemukh is from India, and was living in Chicago in the United States before coming to Ireland.

“I am currently residing in a hostel. Most of my attempts to find an apartment have been futile,” he said.

Sreemukh Kovuri: “I am currently residing in a hostel. Most of my attempts to find an apartment have been futile.”
Sreemukh Kovuri: “I am currently residing in a hostel. Most of my attempts to find an apartment have been futile.”

Staying in the 10-bed hostel room is costing him €40 a night. Two other postgraduate Trinity students from India are staying with him in the tourist hostel.

“The maximum period allowed for people to stay in a hostel is 14 days – after which we would not be allowed to renew. Quite frankly, we are all a little scared. We will have to take all our luggage and move from hostel to hostel until we find an apartment,” he said.

“The situation is so bad that even the AirBnB rooms are booked. It’s very hard to even find temporary accommodation here right now.”

Sreemukh says his price range for rent is around €600 a month, which means most rental rooms are too expensive. He sends out tens of emails enquiring about lettings every day, but does not get many responses back as landlords do not want to rent to students, he says.

Couchsurfing

Nelly, who asked that her second name be withheld, moved from Belgium to study in Dublin and has also not been able to find a room in the city.

She is studying a masters degree at Dublin Institute of Technology and arrived in Ireland at the end of August. She resorted to couchsurfing and is currently staying in a man’s house who she met online.

“It’s almost three weeks now that I’m looking for a place and can’t find anything normal.” Nelly said whenever landlords hear she is a student they break off contact and stop responding to her. She has a budget of €1,000 a month for rent but so far has not been able to find an available apartment.

“I came to Dublin because I wanted to study in one of the best cities in Europe. I don’t want to say I regret coming here, but I should have considered my decision better,” she said.

The increasing number of students entering third-level education from Irish schools and international students coming from abroad, has exaccerbated the accommodation crisis.

College-run campus accommodation and most private student housing developments were fully booked by the start of September.

During the summer Minister for Education Richard Bruton launched a national student accommodation plan, which aimed to increase the number of purpose built student housing beds by 7,000 by the end of 2019.

Student union officers at University College Dublin have said the high cost of college and the difficulty finding accommodation has meant some students have been unable to take up places in their courses this September.

A recent survey of more than 3,500 students by the Union of Students in Ireland found that almost 40 students were unable to secure accommodation last year, and had to rely on friends or emergency accommodation for homeless people.