Tenants in luxury student accommodation complex LIV Student are facing rent increases of more than 10 per cent after an “administrative incident”, with some saying they fear that they won’t be able to afford the rent increases.
Some 53 students were undercharged for the month of September after they signed a contract that quoted weekly rent for single occupancy of a room, when the rooms are in fact shared by two tenants, the Irish Times reported yesterday.
The students affected received an email outlining an increase of €18.75 per person per week in rooms with bunk beds and an increase of €15.62 per person, per week for those that share a bed.
The students were originally charged €270 per week, or €135 per student. The increases outlined in the email means occupants now face rents of between €150.62 and €153.75 per week, an increase of 11 per cent and 13.9 per cent respectively.
Speaking to the Irish Times, Simon Pollard, the general manager of LIV Student, said the error occurred as a result of “a genuine misunderstanding between a member of our team and a number of our valued students”.
He said: “After discussions and realising the obvious misunderstanding that had occurred between the students and the member of staff involved it was decided to arrive at a fair and balanced compromise that was then put to all the students involved.”
The updated rental prices, he said, reflect “a considerable saving on the published rate for the affected students”.
“My team and I are sorry that this situation has arisen and will ensure that there can be no repetition of this isolated and administrative incident occurring in the future”, Pollard added.
One student renting in the complex told the Irish Times that the mix up affected created “huge stress” for him, and that he will not be able to afford the increase.
“I just landed here [in Ireland]”, he said. “They can’t expect me to pay that much, it’s just not possible.”
“I have exams, assignments, classes, and now I have to look for a room”, he continued. “I have college five days a week, there’s no time for me to try and view properties.”
Another resident said he will have to try and find somewhere else to live if the prices do increase as planned. “We’ve basically been told to either pay the increased rent or find somewhere else to live”, he said. “We signed a contract, we shouldn’t have to pay increased rents.”
The Irish Times reported that the Department of Housing has advised the students to refer the case to the Residential Tenancies Board disputes-resolution process if they feel the change is in breach of rental legislation.
Speaking to the Irish Times, a spokesperson for the Rental Tenancies Board said: “We recently changed the law relating to Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) to offer students greater protection. SSA is now under the remit of the Residential Tenancies Board.”