Two student organizations have called on the government to take immediate action in response to rising rents and a shortage of accommodation options for international students in Ireland.
According to the Irish Council for International Students and the Union of Students in Ireland, a student housing crisis is forcing many international students to live in overcrowded quarters. Approximately half of the English language students who participated in an ICOS poll at the start of the pandemic shared a room with three or more other persons, with 11% sharing a room with six or more other people. Only 10% of the students had their own room.
International students are particularly susceptible when it comes to housing since they frequently arrive in Ireland with little awareness of the rental market environment, putting them at greater risk of being cheated or exploited, according to ICOS executive director Laura Harmon. The PIE earlier reported in September 2021 that overseas students were having difficulty finding someplace to live. To address the issue, ICOS has recommended immediate legislative reform.
A bill to address overcrowding in housing was introduced in 2018, but it is currently in committee. Clare Austick, president of USI, stated that the student housing problem is “now the worst it has ever been.” The horrific overcrowding of overseas students is unacceptable and must be addressed by the government.
Students in Ireland can’t afford to live right now, and overseas students are more vulnerable because they often don’t have much assistance and feel forced to take beds in overcrowded dormitories just to keep a roof over their heads. This and other student housing issues must be addressed immediately so that students can live in decent conditions while pursuing an education.
Private providers are interested in opening additional apartments. Yugo, a US-based student housing company, has announced plans to open a new 235-bed block in Dublin in September after reporting 100% occupancy throughout its Irish properties.
The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation, and Science stated that it is “acutely aware” of the challenges that students face when it comes to student housing and that it is “continuing to work closely” with the Department of Housing, Local Government, and Heritage on the issue. Housing for All, led by the Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage, outlines a number of activities that will be taken to address the housing problem, they stated.
“The shortage of student accommodation is happening in the context of the wider housing crisis,” the spokesperson said. “There is a great need to increase the supply of all types of housing and accommodation, including student accommodation.”
The proposal is backed by the state’s highest-ever housing budget, in excess of €20 billion, to modernize our housing system. Furthermore, the government has made steps to address affordability and rent rises. Rent hikes in student housing are limited by Rent Pressure Zones.
Legislation enacted last year also limits the amount that students or other tenants can be compelled to pay upfront for their housing, putting a stop to the practice of students being required to pay a lump sum up ahead each term, typically in the range of €2,500 to €3,500.
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