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Dublin: 14°C Tuesday 22 September 2020

'A frenzy of panic': Advice for students looking for accommodation

The USI has called on people to take in lodgers as a lack of suitable housing remains an issue.

THE UNION OF Students in Ireland (USI) is encouraging people to rent out their spare rooms to students as lack of accommodation remains a huge issue.

The USI has said homeowners can benefit from a tax-free €12,000 ‘rent-a-room relief’ if they take in a lodger.

USI President Kevin Donoghue re-launched homes.usi.ie during the week.

“This site is designed to provide quality, affordable accommodation to students while easing the stress on the rental market as a whole. It will also help families who are struggling to make ends meet,” he said.

Donoghue added that while the rent-a-room relief scheme represents a good option for students and homeowners alike, the lack of accommodation in major towns and cities needs to be addressed urgently by the government and is likely to become a general election issue.

“Long-term the solution is more purpose-built student accommodation. While this will help alleviate the problem in the short term it can’t be seen as a permanent fix,” he said.

Student unions across the country have echoed Donoghue’s sentiments.


Conor Clancy, the welfare officer at Trinity College Dublin, appealed to “past students who understand the situation” to consider taking in a lodger.

In 2014, 12,420 undergrads and 4,309 postgraduate students were registered at Trinity. Similar numbers are expected during the next academic year.

Clancy said the college has been trying to alleviate the shortage of housing by “diversifying” the accommodation available to students.

bedroom A standard TCD on-campus bedroom. Source: TCD.ie

He noted the search for a place to stay can be quite stressful but urged students not to panic, rather get in touch with their student union (SU) or college’s accommodation advisory service.

Clancy said students in Dublin can expect to pay between €80 and €140 per week for digs.

A full breakdown of the cost of on-campus accommodation at Trinity is available here.


Jimmy McGovern, the welfare office at NUI Galway’s SU, said the lack of accommodation for students in the area is “a serious problem and it’s only getting worse”.

It’s coming close to crisis point at the moment.

“The college is expanding and getting bigger and bigger. Every year there are more and more first years, but little to no more accommodation is being made available.”

McGovern said some students end up staying in hostels or on friends’ couches while others have issues with landlords.

Some landlords will increase the rent by €100 a month and someone will take it because they’re desperate.

He recalled that three students he knew lived in a house last year that was up for sale and were told they’d have to move with just a week’s notice if the property sold.

Here’s an example of some of the student accommodation available in Galway:

Source: kermit0077321/YouTube

McGovern said students in the city can expect to pay around €350-400 per month for off-campus accommodation.

A breakdown of the cost of NUI Galway’s on-campus accommodation can be viewed here.


University College Cork’s SU welfare officer said students in the city can expect to pay anything from €80-110 per week on a house.

Katie Quinlan said the accommodation shortage is “not unique to this year”. She noted there is “always that panic every summer”, with people asking “Are you sorted yet? Are you sorted yet?”

It’s a case of remaining calm. It’s so easy to panic.

Quinlan said people still have plenty of time to find a place, but it’s no harm to start looking now if you know where you’ll be studying in September.

It’s about keeping your eyes open. Contact the college’s designated accommodation service if you need to and don’t get caught up in that frenzy of panic.

More information on UCC’s on-campus accommodation is available here.

Read: UCD changed its campus accommodation system and some students are NOT happy

Opinion: Student accommodation is an absolute disaster in this country – when will government respond?

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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