Nowhere to live - student accommodation "impossible" to secure
A Mullingar student entering her final year at university says trying to find accommodation is “next to impossible”, with some even having to take a “year out”, as there is nowhere available to rent.
Twenty-one-year-old Katie Crowley who is studying Computer Science in TUD in Dublin, says that to share a twin room can cost upwards of €620 per month, but there are simply no places available.
And while she had planned to remain in Ireland next year once she is fully qualified, she is now having to think about travelling abroad for work because there is nowhere to live.
“It’s coming close to the start of September and every single friend that I have is still looking for accommodation," begins the former St Finian’s College student.
“My first year of college I stayed with relatives, in my second and third year I did house shares, last year shared a house with an elderly lady.
“I was sleeping in a box room for €550 per month, it was a lot of money for a very small room. I’m now trying to find somewhere to live for this year but it’s next to impossible,” she explains.
While in previous years the cost of accommodation was a barrier to many students, this year it appears to be the lack of accommodation.
“Originally when I started looking for places, my budget was around €500, I’ve had to increase that considerably. But the problem now is trying to find a place, there’s nowhere to even share rooms anymore.
“College accommodation is either already booked out, or the prices they’re asking are just ridiculous. For a twin room, the cheapest I could find was €155 a week, but that’s been booked out since the beginning of the year.
“There’s very few house shares available, and I read an article yesterday from Daft.ie which said that this is the lowest amount of housing that’s been available in the last 15 years. There’s absolutely nothing out there.”
Katie began her search early this summer, applying to as many houses as she could, but has not yet managed to secure a single viewing.
“I haven’t even been able to get a viewing. This is coming from someone who already has rent experience, I have references, I’ve been working full-time summer jobs, I have the SUSI grant and it’s still impossible.”
She says it’s an even bigger problem for her international friends.
“One of my friends from France doesn’t even have family to stay with, so she can’t even commute. I have other friends who have just been told they have to leave their apartment this month, they’re looking to move down the country because there’s nowhere in Dublin.
“It’s an absolute scramble for everyone, and everyone’s looking at commuting, but that’s a problem in itself.”
Katie explains that commuting from Mullingar to Dublin would add another four to five hours onto her day, making it impossible for those who wish to work part-time to access college.
“Commuting can take up to four or five hours, so anyone who works part-time to get through college will probably have to choose between working or commuting.
“I have friends who have already taken a year out to try and save for this year, but they haven’t even been able to secure accommodation either.
“If you’re commuting from Mullingar to Dublin, it stops at Maynooth, as well as servicing all the other colleges in Dublin - the trains are going to be packed every single day. They’re already overflowing with people as it is, and it’s going to get worse.
“The government have been good to reduce the ticket pricing for students, but there’s not enough transport, there’s not enough trains or buses running.
“I’m genuinely very worried about September time now, it’s going to be almost impossible to try and get up there.
“It’s a lot of problems and there doesn’t seem to be any solutions.”
“I don’t mind being in a small room, but it’s my final year and everyone deserves a roof over their head and some room to study as well,” she says.
“It’s funny to think that next year I will be working professionally but right now I can’t even find somewhere to stay. It’s even a problem for working professionals, there’s nowhere to live and the price of accommodation is crazy.
“I think the rent cap is at 2%, but that still hasn’t done anything to lower the prices. People will have to consider taking about year out of college until things improve.
“Long-term, the solution is that we simply need more accommodation, more housing.
“The government really need to step in and sort out the issue of rent, it’s too much for young people to pay, it’s just not affordable.
“We need to look at the quality of houses as well, but in the short-term, I think more needs to be done for students in terms of the SUSI grant.
“AirBnB is a big problem. Landlords don’t want to rent out long-term anymore, there’s more money in short-term stays. Landlords can make a lot more money off Air BnB.
“My plan for next year would be to go into full-time work immediately, but the more the accommodation crisis continues, the more I’m starting to look at going abroad for work because while there’s plenty of jobs in the country, there’s just nowhere to live.”