Friday 23 August 2019

Calls for stronger guidelines to halt student accommodation being turned into co-living spaces

Rebecca Moynihan
Rebecca Moynihan

Markus Krug

Politicians and students are calling for the government to introduce stronger guidelines to avoid purpose-built student accommodation being turned into co-living spaces.

They see the general lack of purpose-built accommodation as one of the main issues for students today and fear that the current trend would further worsen the situation.

"Media reports stating that developers of student accommodation are seeking to turn purpose-built student spaces into co-living for young professionals are deeply worrying," said Labour councillor for Dublin, Rebecca Moynihan.

She added: "We cannot allow quick-build student accommodation to be turned into co-living spaces when it suits the developer. We deserve secure, quality housing, not pack-them-in style co-living spaces."

Student representatives have agreed with her view and her call for change in the legislation.

"We would agree with Cllr Moynihan’s call to end or change the legislation that allows these developments," said Craig McHugh from the Union of Students in Ireland.

"The main difficulty is the legislation that allows purpose-built student accommodation to be changed into private accommodation after 10 years."

Mr McHugh also agreed with Cllr Moynihan that co-living spaces are not the ideal solution for young professionals.

"We are moving towards a society where graduates are going to live in co-living spaces as an accepted form of living. They shouldn’t have to deal with that once they graduate," he said.

Mr McHugh also said he believes that turning student accommodation into co-living spaces is always about "turning it into a profit" and "trying to cash in on high rents."

"We don’t only need for these trends to stop but we also need action to build publicly-owned student accommodation.

"If this continues, people will stop coming to Dublin and this country to study because they simply cannot afford it anymore," he added.

The Irish Universities Association (IUA) stated that the trend will further worsen the existing problems for students.

"The biggest issue in respect of student accommodation at the moment is lack of supply. There is already significant excess demand for purpose built student accommodation (PBSA)," a spokesperson said.

"In spite of the overall crisis of funding in third level, accommodation remains a priority given the continued surge in student numbers that is set to continue up to 2030 at least."

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