Sir, – I have now read with dismay articles by Conor Pope about how students have fallen foul of accommodation scammers who have taken their money and disappeared.
The latest report mentions that the French embassy has issued warnings to students coming to Ireland to be careful (Life, September 24th).
I wonder what role colleges and universities can play in helping reduce the risks to students. University College Dublin provides its own renting platform for landlords and students to connect.
This, in my experience, is an excellent service that includes an in-person visit to verify the authenticity of the landlord and the accommodation offered (ucdaccommodationpad.ie/).
Other institutions should follow suit.
The Institute of Art, Design, and Technology (IADT) in Dún Laoghaire, for example, offers no such service and leaves students to fend for themselves.
All colleges should also discourage students from trying to secure accommodation using brief text messages and Whatsapp or asking for virtual tours before coming to Ireland. That’s looking for trouble. – Yours, etc,