Dispute | 

Student ordered to pay University College Dublin (UCD) €18,200 in rent arrears

The cost of renting on-site accommodation has increased significantly at all Irish colleges in the last 10 years, more than doubling in some cases
UCD campus

UCD campus

Amy Molloy

A tenant has been ordered to pay University College Dublin (UCD) €18,200 in rent arrears after the college reported him to the rental watchdog.

The dispute arose over a four-bedroom property being rented out by the university in Clonskeagh, a five-minute drive from its campus.

UCD purchased the house for €865,000 in 2019 and it is one of a number of houses owned by the college in the Dublin 14 area.

It is understood UCD has invested millions in off-campus housing over the last five years and is renting some of the properties to students.

The houses have four and five bedrooms and are all registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

This month the RTB ordered the tenant to pay UCD monthly instalments of €758 for two years after racking up arrears of €18,200.

When contacted, a UCD spokesperson said it did not wish to comment.

Details published by the Property Price Register and Land Registry show that UCD also bought a house in Clonskeagh for €1m in 2020 and it is registered as a rental property with five bedrooms.

UCD is Ireland's largest university with just over 35,000 students, including its overseas operations. Thousands of third-level students have been scrambling for accommodation in the capital in the last year due to soaring rents and a lack of available properties.

The cost of renting on-site accommodation has increased significantly at all Irish colleges in the last 10 years, more than doubling in some cases.

Student unions have been raising awareness about the issue for months, calling on the Government to intervene after it was revealed some students were sleeping in cars, being forced to pay for hotels and deferring college places due to the housing crisis.

Students hoping to live on UCD's campus for the 2022/2023 academic year will pay rent of between €6,700 and €11,700, depending on the accommodation.

Non-EU graduate students are being quoted fees of between €9,950 and €12,300 for campus accommodation for a 12-month period.

Last year, University College Dublin Students' Union (UCDSU) made headlines after it raised concerns over the use of purpose-built student accommodation by tourists.

UCDSU president Ruairí Power wrote to Owen Keegan, the chief executive of Dublin City Council, about the issue after he learned 571 private student flats in Dublin city were being turned into tourist accommodation during the academic year. Mr Power said the decision to grant planning would "undoubtedly perpetuate the supply crisis and artificially inflate rents across the city".

Mr Keegan's response received a significant backlash. He said: "If you genuinely believe that excess profits are being made in the PBSA (purpose-built student accommodation) market, I am surprised the students' union has not entered the market itself and provided lower-cost student accommodation for its members." He later apologised.


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