Dublin City University (DCU) has become the third college to propose a four per cent rent increase, the College View reported tonight.
DCU joins UCD in confirming a four per cent rent increase over the next three years, with Trinity also set to discuss an increase, according to documents obtained by The University Times last week.
In a statement to the College View, DCU’s chief operations officer, Declan Raftery, wrote: “The pricing structure for DCU’s students residences is reviewed annually and for the next academic year… the prices will be increased by 4%.”
Last year, college-run student accommodation was added as a rent pressure zone, meaning universities can only increase their rent by four per cent per year.
Last week, after this newspaper revealed that Trinity’s Finance Committee will discuss a rent increase of four per cent to its campus accommodation, as well as a “€10 per week premium” on rooms in the College’s Printing House Square complex.
The increases, according to a document obtained by The University Times, have been floated amid risks of “a significant negative impact” on the Colleges’ finances, “resulting from a drop in demand (occupancy) due to the price sensitivity of student accommodation and the nature of the accommodation department’s fixed cost base”.
In an email statement to The University Times, Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Laura Beston said that the union “fully opposes” the proposal.
“We will do whatever we must in the lead up to, and in the aftermath of, this meeting to ensure that students are not burdened with an increase in rent”, she said. “We are already working on ensuring that this decision does not pass and will fight this decision with all the resources we have.”
“The SU has seen an alarming increase in the number of students commuting, facing financial issues and even having to drop out of college due to the Housing Crisis. We will not stand idly by while we have the power to oppose a decision at a college level that may help alleviate one of the biggest pressure points facing our students.”
In response to the rent increases in UCD – which came in the same week the Irish Times reported the college had spent €5.5 million on residential properties in south Dublin – Joanna Siewierska, the president of University College Dublin Students’ Union said that “it is shocking to see Ireland’s largest public university use student accommodation to make a profit and do nothing to help students manage the crippling rents in Dublin”.
She added: “Students are already being locked out of education by the housing crisis. We are seeing fewer and fewer students from outside of Dublin choosing to study in UCD, and little or no increase in students from lower socio-economic backgrounds coming to our university.”