Monday 23 April 2018

'We want compensation' - students who paid €12k for accommodation forced to endure months of construction work

  • Students say they weren't informed about the works when they moved in
  • Gateway to complex has been broken 'for weeks'
  • 'The construction work would start at 7am and it would be impossible to concentrate'
  • Compensation of €216 offered but rejected by some students
  • Rent was paid up front for entire year
  • 'We should have been notified about this before we paid'
Uninest student apartments
Uninest student apartments
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

STUDENTS who paid up to €12,000 to live at a new residence in Dublin city were forced to endure months of construction work and are demanding that they receive "adequate compensation".

Independent.ie met with a number of aggrieved students living at the New Mill residence in The Liberties.

They told how construction work would start at 7am in the morning some days and said it was "impossible" to study with the loud noise.

In the below video, loud drilling and banging can be heard as the students tried to work on assignments.

Prices for a room at the complex, operated by company Global Student Accommodation through their Uninest brand, start at €980 a month for a standard room, rising to €1,380 for a premium studio.

Some of the students paid all their rent up front.

Becky Franklin (24), a masters student at Trinity College Dublin, said the works really affected her studies.

"I found myself going into college in a bad mood as I was having to stay up late to finish work because I couldn't concentrate during the day with all the noise," she said.

The additional study space provided
The additional study space provided

"It's been an absolute nightmare."

Daniel Perera, also a resident at New Mill, said he felt taken advantage of and criticised the "poor communication" from Uninest.

"Our tenant rights were violated due to the ongoing construction. Our studying and mental health suffered as a result and the response we have had in attempts to resolve the issue has been terrible.

"All our rent was paid up front so I feel like they didn't really care when we complained as they already had our money."

Students say the entrance gate has been broken
Students say the entrance gate has been broken "for weeks"

GSA is building a second unit comprising of accommodation for a further 400 students, while company StayCity, which specialises in Aparthotels, is building its new head office beside New Mill.

Students say that Uninest offered them €216 as a "good will gesture" following their complaints, and also set up a study room and provided free coffees.

However, they rejected the offer as they felt they should receive more compensation.

"The offer is not representative of the severity of the issue as well as the length of time that we have been subjected to the noise," Perera said.

"Every single day all I hear is hammers and drills like it was happening in my room. We were told it would be done within three weeks, eight weeks ago," another student said.

Along with the construction works, they said the company has been slow to fix issues with the apartment block.

The main entrance gate to the complex has been "broken for weeks", meaning anyone can walk in and out of the private residence.

A spokesperson for GSA said that the works are now complete.

"Although owned by another party we understand Stay City has taken a long lease on the property in question and commissioned fit out works, for which planning permission was granted after students had moved in.

"Whilst we had no responsibility for, or influence in these works, our team has been working hard on behalf of our residents to act as an intermediary and help tackle the issues raised. Following our requests, the contractors reduced their working hours and Stay City agreed to and attended a Q&A with residents to open up a direct dialogue.

"As a goodwill gesture we reduced weekly rates, provided an additional quiet study space at the development for those impacted and offered transfers to another one of our residences in Dublin."

However, the students who contacted Independent.ie say they have not received reduced weekly rates, and said the additional study space was a "tiny room".

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