Students demand action on spiralling accommodation costs

DCUSU is accusing accommodation providers of "preying on students and their parents"

Students demand action on spiralling accommodation costs

Shanowen Hall Student Accomodation

Thousands of people have signed a petition demanding action on the spiralling cost of student accommodation.

DCU Students Union has accused private accommodation providers of "preying on students and their parents who are desperate to secure accommodation for the upcoming year."

It comes as one of the privately-owned student accommodation complexes serving the college raised its rents for next year by up to 27% for the next academic year.

Shanowen Square plans to charge just under €8,700 for a student to live there from September to May - around €235 per week.

Over 11,000 people have signed  a petition calling on the Government to work with colleges to provide "sustainable, affordable accommodation" and prevent landlords from "exploiting legal loopholes, allowing them to charge whatever they wish to students."

DCU Student's Union (DCUSU) President Niall Behan says students from outside the capital are being priced out of third-level education.

"You can have a nine month lease; they can rent it out to someone else during the summer and for a four bedroom apartment you are looking at €28,000," he said.

"It is a complete disgrace.

"We really need the Minister to step up here and actually do something.

"The fact that they value education so much - they need to actually value the people who are living through education."

In an open letter to a number of the privately-owned student accommodation providers around the college the DCUSU said "abhorrent financial pressures" have been imposed on students in recent years.

"Education is becoming more of a commodity and access becoming limited to only those who can afford to pay huge amounts every year.

"These fees are crippling students, potentially their families, and those who financially support them."

"We are letting our voice be heard loud and clear that students should not be exploited like this.

"We urge all campus and local providers to rethink how this exploitation is affecting your students and to not just use them as cash cows."

The Labour Party's education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has warned that accommodation providers are "exploiting" the housing crisis to " charge extortionate accommodation fees."

He said the fee will see students from outside Dublin 'essentially priced out' of attending DCU.

“I fully support the views of DCU Students’ Union, who are resisting their fellow students as being seen as cash cows," he said.

“These student accommodation providers cannot shirk their responsibilities to the students and the wider community of the Northside of Dublin.”

One of the providers included in the open letter, Gateway Student Village met with the student's union last night.

It has said that its own price increase was 14% - not the 27% introduced at other complexes.