Wednesday 18 October 2017

Homeowners urged to rent a room to students

Student representatives are calling on people to open their doors to those in higher education
Student representatives are calling on people to open their doors to those in higher education

Jane O'Faherty

Students' unions in Ireland's major cities are urging homeowners to open their doors to third-level lodgers before the beginning of the academic year.

Several organisations representing students are promoting the Rent-A-Room Relief scheme among homeowners near colleges and universities.

Under the scheme, homeowners who rent a room or rooms in their house to private tenants are not obliged to pay tax on income from rent or related services - so long as that income does not exceed €12,000 per year.

Students' unions in Dublin, Galway and Cork have been working with local residents in a bid to highlight the scheme.

Amy Kelly, welfare officer at Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Students' Union, said finding accommodation this year was "extremely difficult".

"It's been one of the hardest years we've ever had," she said.

Ms Kelly said her union has been visiting residents near GMIT to encourage them to rent a room to students and said the idea has "really taken off".

"Obviously, students have the benefit of having a place to live," she said. "For anyone with a spare room, it's a tax-free income of €12,000. That's huge."

Domhnaill Harkin, welfare officer of Dublin City University Students' Union, said the majority of people offering accommodation are renting rooms in private homes.

"People are reluctant to take up digs because they have less independence, but students are living in digs because they have no other choice," he said.

But he advised students not to rule out digs.

"In a lot of cases, people get on really well and for older people, it can be company for them," he said. "There are benefits for both parties."

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