Sunday 15 July 2018

'There's a fear of not knowing where you'll be living' - Students on rising rents, 'falling apart' houses and the scramble for accommodation

(L-R) Aoibhinn Raleigh, John Healy and Katie Gunn
(L-R) Aoibhinn Raleigh, John Healy and Katie Gunn
Many students are already choosing not to study in Dublin because of the cost or the lack of a home. (Stock photo)
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A teenager who is about to start college has admitted he is filled with "fear of the unknown over where you'll end up living."

The excitement of thousands of students who were offered third-level college courses on Monday quickly turned to panic for many as the scramble to find suitable accommodation began.

A selection of those affected opened up to about how sky-high rents, waiting lists, grim conditions and landlords who don't accept students has left them in "limbo".

Aoibhinn Raleigh

Aoibhinn Raleigh.jpg
Aoibhinn Raleigh

Aoibhinn Raleigh (19) is about to start her first year of Multimedia Studies in Dublin City University.

The Kildare native says that a lot of the rooms available are in poor condition.

She said: "I actually was in college doing teaching last year but I thought the course wasn't for me.

"I've known I would get this course since I decided on it back in January, so I've been looking since then.

"It's just been so hard to find something in my price range out around the DCU area, as well as something which isn't completely falling apart.

"I find a lot of the accommodation available to students at the minute is completely outrageous, they expect you to pay around €500-700 per month for an apartment that is filth and falling apart."

While viewings with dozens of people for a single property are becoming the norm in some parts of the country, Aoibhinn said many students are struggling to even get a reply from prospective landlords.

She said: "I find it's not competitive but it is hard to even get a reply from a lot of the renters, which makes it difficult to even get an idea of what you could or could not get around there.

"I don't mind a double or single room, but I wouldn't share just because I know of so many horror stories from my friends who have shared rooms last year, it just seems to always end up in tears.

"I definitely want something within walking distance, as I wouldn't want to bring my car over and have to add a parking space fee on top of rent and bills."

She said that while she hasn't managed to sign a lease yet, she isn't "worried."

Aoibhinn explained: "I'm not worried yet, as I can commute if I don't get anything but I'm desperately searching for something.

"I would have loved student accommodation but that seems to have gotten extremely competitive this year, by April most of the rooms were already gone."

Read More: Moving out for college? Here's the best you can get for your money around the country

Katie Gunn

Katie McGunn.jpg
Katie Gunn

Katie Healy, from Skibereen in Co Cork, is about to begin her first year of Arts in the University of Limerick (UL) and says students are facing lengthy waiting lists.

Katie (19) said: "House-hunting is really difficult, I'm on the waiting lists for all off the official student accommodation but I've been warned they are long and that there's still another 100 people ahead of me.

"In an ideal world I'd love a double room to myself but anything would be good so I'm looking at digs and lodging.

"So many landlords won't take first years though."
She also gave her views on why it's so hard for students to find somewhere to live.

Katie said: "Everyone wants to go to college it seems and there's more and more demand but the accommodation just isn't there."

John Healy

John Healy.jpg
John Healy

John Healy, from Cratloe in Co Clare, is going to study Law and Accounting in the UL and he said that he feels like he's in "limbo" until he finds somewhere to live.

John (18) said: "I was actually hoping to go to UCD so I had been looking for somewhere to live in Dublin.

"I'm trying all the websites and Facebook pages but there's so little places available and the ones that are there are so expensive.

"Digs are an option but I'm not too keen because I like my independence.

"I have orientation next week and lectures start the week after so the pressure is definitely on."

John said he is going to commute if he doesn't find anything in time but admits that the uncertainty of the situation is stressful.

He said: "I feel like I'm in limbo at the moment, there is definitely a fear of the unknown about where you'll end up living but hopefully that will subside once I find somewhere.
"First you had to worry about the Leaving Cert, then you get your results, find out your course and now this is just another thing to deal with."

Read More: Thousands of students begin scramble for rooms as rent crisis bites

Deirdre Lynch


Deirdre Lynch (18) going to study Biomedical Science in NUI Galway.

She joined a waiting list for accommodation five months ago and was relieved to finally get a room today.

Deirdre, who is from Mullagh in Co Clare, said: "I've been on waiting lists since March but I only started looking properly since the results were released last week.

"I had no preferences at all, I'm just happy to take whatever I can get.

"I'm lucky that my friend and I got a shared room in Dunaras because everywhere else seems full."

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