Eugene Murphy Scramogue Jadotville Roscommon Council Housing home care package

Eugene Murphy TD: Students being forced to commute to College due to rental crisis

Eugene Murphy Scramogue Jadotville Roscommon Council Housing home care package
Eugene Murphy TD has said the combination of rising rental prices and lack of supply of accommodation is prohibiting a large proportion of third level students from living within a reasonable distance of their campus.

Deputy Murphy noted that the publication of the latest Daft rental report showed rents rose by 3.9% between April and June this year, representing the largest three month increase since 2007.

“Many students have returned to college this month and many students from the Roscommon/Galway area opt for college in Galway, Sligo, Dublin or Athlone. Many of them continue to face the stressful situation of trying to find suitable accommodation. Compared to other countries, student residence accommodation is in short supply in Ireland. Just 11% of students are accommodated in student residences, leading to 25,000 students having to undertake a frantic search for private rented accommodated each year. However as a result of the situation in the rental market in urban areas, students are simply not able to compete. I know of situations whereby students are forced to commute from Roscommon to colleges in Dublin, Galway or Sligo as they simply cannot afford the high cost of rented accommodation.

“Both short-term and medium term solutions are required. In the short-term, the Higher Education Authority in conjunction with the Private Residential Tenancies Board should be undertaking targeted campaigns to promote student digs and to incentivise households to open up rooms to students,” said Eugene Murphy.

Nationwide Rental Situation

The Fianna Fail TD said that the latest figures showed that there were just 3,600 homes to rent nationwide on August 1st which was 1,000 fewer than on the same date a year previously. The numbers for Dublin are lower still, with just 1,100 properties available to rent at the start of May.

“Meanwhile, the average rent nationwide has risen by over one third since bottoming out in 2011 and has surpassed its 2008 peak. Monthly rents are now almost 10% higher than they were a year ago. The students who just completed the Leaving Cert this year are really stuck in limbo land as they are low-income newcomers to the most competitive areas of the housing market because the colleges they’re attending are mostly city-based. The majority can only afford to let for 9 months instead of the standard 12 and don’t have the stable earnings or references of a full-time professional. In the private rental sector right now, it’s unlikely they’ll get a viewing, let alone a lease.

This situation in the general market is not going to change over the next few weeks. Recent promises of reform are largely dependent on measures aimed at the medium – long term. That isn’t much help to young people who are starting studying this September,” said Deputy Murphy.

Investment needed for on-campus accommodation

“The failure to provide adequate student accommodation is making the rental crisis much worse. The Government needs to put in place a fund to enable third level institutions to invest in on-campus accommodation. This will have to include tax proposals that will make it attractive for colleges to invest in accommodation. This is the only way we will adequately increase student accommodation on a long term basis,” concluded Eugene Murphy.