Over the last number of years there has been a growing dissatisfaction among students at the steady rate of inflation in rental prices for student accommodation - as reflected in the rental market in general. This discontent reached a crescendo this year when several high profile private accommodation providers in DCU and NUIG announced that next year's rental fees would be increased by approximately 20%. This led to widespread protest in both universities with the hashtags #ShanowenShakedown and #CúirtShakedown receiving national attention.
Due to the scale of the protests a bill was introduced in May by Sinn Féin TD Eoin Ó Broin which sought to close the curious loophole that allowed student accommodation providers circumvent the rule that landlords cannot raise their rental rates by more than 4% annually. The Residential Tenancies (Students Rents, Rights and Protections) Bill 2018 passed in May, giving students in private accommodation "the full protections of the Residential Tenancies Acts, including access to the Residential Tenancies Board and inclusion in the rent pressure zones."t
In the wake of this NUIG SU have announced that they are to file a case against accommodation providers Cúirt na Coiribe, who informed residents during the second week of NUIG's exam period, that they would increasing rent prices by 18% for the coming academic year.
Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, the president of NUIG SU, announced the decision to file a case today.
Following advice from public representatives, University colleagues and our own counsel we have filed a case through the Residential Tenancies Board against Cúirt na Coiribe Galway. NUI Galway Students' Union will represent a 2017/18 tenant of Cúirt na Coiribe who was a victim of the 18% rent increase.
We hope that this case will send a strong message to other student accommodation management companies across the country that students and their families will not stand by and allow their education to be put at risk due to the ever increasing cost of accommodation imposed by these companies,” continued Ó Maoileannaigh.
NUI Galway cannot become an elitist University only accessible to those who can afford to absorb the ever rising cost of rent.
It is fantastic to see, with legislation in place to protect students from being subjected to such exploitative rental hikes, that action is being taken to proactively challenge such practices.
H/T: Trinity News