University College Core Students’ Union (UCCSU) has issued an urgent appeal for local homeowners within Cork to rent rooms to students for the upcoming academic year due to a severe shortage of student accommodation within Cork at present.
With almost 10,000 students reportedly set to begin college in Cork between now and October, UCCSU President Aidan Coffey has called for increased participation in the USI’s ‘rent-a-room relief scheme’ as an alternative to, “searching for apartment complexes or house shares.”
“Renting out rooms can add up to €12,000 to a home’s income and this is completely tax free, so it’s hugely financially beneficial for homeowners.
“For some people, having a student living in the house would also be socially beneficial, as they’ll provide companionship to homeowners,” the union president explained to Campus.ie.
The union is also calling on local landlords who, “would not have previously considered renting to students, to do so, and to relax demands for a 12-month lease.” Average rental costs in Cork currently stand at between 80-100 euros per week.
The accommodation shortage in Cork has also been exacerbated by one apartment block, Copley Court, having to reject up to as many as 150 students due to an urgent need for renovations.
Speaking to the Irish Times, UCCSU Welfare officer, Katie Quinlan highlighted the difficult relationship between landlords and college students, saying that, “Some landlords refuse point blank to talk to students or to entertain the idea of them as tenants.”
Commenting on the issue, Mr. Coffey said, “Part of changing landlord’s attitudes will come from students continuing to respect the properties rented to them, and part of the solution will be landlords actually meeting students, and realising that the overwhelming majority of them would make for excellent tenants.”
Mr. Coffey also cautioned that if “some incentives” are not put in place to encourage the construction of more purpose built student accommodation within Cork, the accommodation situation could soon resemble that which already exists in Dublin.
“Cork students have historically been able to live and rent very close to campus, whereas in Dublin, renting and then commuting is standard practice. This is a situation we may see arise more often in Cork in the future, unless more purpose built student accommodation is built,” he commented.
“The barriers to this at the moment are that potential developers do not see sufficient return being earned on any investment they make, therefore some incentives need to be put in place to make this an attractive option for them,” he added.
Mr.Coffey offered reassurance to incoming students affected by the current accommodation crisis.
“Students should continue to look for accommodation, but in the meantime, they should book temporary accommodation for their orientation, and if needs be, perhaps for the first week or two of term. This will give them time to continue searching, and actually may not prove any more expensive than renting a house would be,” he advised.
“UCCSU would like to reassure any students concerned, to contact us if they are concerned or in acute difficulty – we will not see any students with nowhere to go,” he concluded.
For those still in need of accommodation, UCCSU can be contacted on 021 490 2181.