Councillor: Student housing "suffocating" residential communities

Cork City Councillor John Buttimer likened the situation to "ethnic cleansing"

Councillor: Student housing "suffocating" residential communities

Magazine Road, Co. Cork. | Image: Google Maps

A Cork City Councillor has said that allowing large-scale student housing in certain residential areas is like “ethnic cleansing” and is “choking and suffocating traditional residential communities”.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Cllr John Buttimer said he has been left frustrated by city planners over the social policy concerning student housing in the county.

"We currently have 4,500 dedicated students beds in student halls across the city," he said. "Within the pipeline, there's a further 2,500 beds. There could be anything up to another 1,500 to 3,000 beds coming through."

Cllr Buttimer said the development will result in an almost exclusive corridor of student housing from South main Street as far as Melbourne Road.

Magazine Road has approximately 140 houses on it - Cllr Buttimer claimed that less than one third of houses are owner-occupied.

"Student accommodation is very welcome, it is very needed [...] We need to have planned, controlled regulation of it," he said.

Eolann Sheehan, President of University College Cork's (UCC) Student Union argued that the demand warrants the output.

"It got so bad last year that we had a student living under a bridge who couldn't find accommodation," he said. "The longer that we wait and think about where we'll put them and why is going to start affecting students."

Sheehan also argued that the student residential blocks are very well managed, but said ultimately the government needs to invest in purpose-built student housing to free up residential properties.

Cllr Buttimer further highlighted the need for regulation requiring all student complexes to be supervised by a warden.

Rent-a-room

Under the government’s rent-a-room scheme, homeowners don’t have to pay tax on rental income earned from digs, unless it exceeds a yearly cap of €12,000.

To qualify for the scheme, your home must be occupied as your sole residency. 

While tenants may also avail of the tax incentives, relief only applies in cases of residential tenancies, not short-term lets.

Renting your room out to a student over the course of a college year is covered, for example, but taking different people in every weekend is not.

The scheme will not affect your mortgage interest relief or your exemption from capital gains tax (CGT) if you sell your home.

Additional reporting from Catherine Healy