Arrangements around student accommodation near DCU to be reviewed

Rent in one of the accommodations is to increase to €8,700 for an eight-month stay

Arrangements around student accommodation near DCU to be reviewed

A room in Shanowen Square | Image: shanowensquare.com

The Government has confirmed it will review arrangements around private student accommodation after massive rent hikes near Dublin City University (DCU).

Management of Shanowen Square announced the rent is to increase to €8,700 for an eight-month stay, a rise of 27% on this year's costs.

On Shanowen Road, a five minute walk from the DCU campus, there are two private student apartment complexes: Shanowen Square and Shanowen Halls.

Typically, Shanowen Square has been seen as among the best student housing to stay in for those studying in DCU.

In the 2014/2015 academic year, the price was €4,900, which included internet and utilities.

Four years later the prices have increased by almost 80%, with management looking for €8,695 for the academic year starting in September.

That is for just eight and a half months, and works out at €235 a week - more than €100 a week more expensive than it was in 2014.

There is a similar increase in the company's other apartment block, Shanowen Halls, where prices are due to go up 23.5% next year.

An example of accommodation in Shanowen Square | Image: shanowensquare.com

But what about the Government's rent pressure zones?

Private student accommodation should be covered by the 4%cap, but Shanowen is using a licencing agreement rather than a tenancy agreement.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy says it is something he is going to look at.

"Certain student accommodation is structured in different ways, so we're looking at that at the moment to make sure that we can protect students.

"Because of course it is expensive to be a student, and accommodation is a very expensive component of that.

"We have a plan to build student accommodation, to build thousands of new student accommodation units.

"And actually as we look at the plans now, we're going to deliver in excess of about 1,500 more student bed places than were originally in the plans for student accommodation".

On Thursday, DCU students held a protest outside Shanowen Square and took to Twitter to vent their anger using the #ShanowenShakedown - with many saying the increases will price them out of accommodation.

A Department of Education spokesperson says they will work with the licencing review being done by the Department of Housing, and said Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor recognises the concerns of students.

The President of DCU, Brian MacCraith, has been more forceful.

He says the Government needs to regulate private student accommodation, and claims students are being exploited by a difficult housing market and a 27% increase in rent is unacceptable.

Professor MacCraith warned it would create barriers to education.

There were four applications for every one bed in DCU's on-campus accommodation this year - and the cost for the university to build a new five-bed apartment is in excess of €550,000, before land costs.

So universities building more bed space is not going to be a practical answer.

And until housing supply generally catches up with demand students will be at the mercy of companies who can increase prices however they see fit.

Newstalk Breakfast contacted Shanowen Square management for comment, and received no reply.