Dublin City University (DCU) has reversed its decision to implement a four per cent rent increase on campus accommodation for next year, the college’s students’ union announced tonight.
On Facebook, Dublin City University Students’ Union (DCUSU) wrote that the college will not press ahead with the increase, which would have meant the college had hiked its rent by the maximum amount allowed under rent pressure legislation.
The union said it welcomed the decision, and thanked “all members of the DCU community who engaged with us on this issue”.
Almost every Irish university announced rent increases for next autumn earlier this year, with many pushing prices up as far as they could legally do so.
In February, the College View reported that DCU would implement the increase over three years. At the time, DCU’s chief operations officer, Declan Raftery, said: “The pricing structure for DCU’s students residences is reviewed annually and for the next academic year… the prices will be increased by 4%.”
In Trinity, documents obtained by this newspaper showed the subject of a four per cent increase was scheduled for discussion at a meeting of Finance Committee in February.
The document also showed College was considering a “€10 per week premium” on rooms in the College’s Printing House Square complex, which has been in construction for over a year but has not yet opened.
But two weeks later, after widespread student opposition to the move, Trinity media relations officer Thomas Deane confirmed to The University Times that the proposal had been taken off the agenda of the committee.
In University College Cork (UCC), students staged a 17-day occupation of the college’s quad in protest at a proposed three per cent rent increase. The occupation was brought to an end after Taoiseach Leo Varadkar ordered the closure of colleges around the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In University College Dublin (UCD), students protested in various sites around the college – including the office of its president, Andrew Deeks – demanding the reversal of a 12 per cent increase over three years.
Deeks, however, told the University Observer – one of two student newspapers in the college – that “absolutely, there’s no way that we’re going to back down on the rent increase”.
A fortnight later, Deeks told this newspaper that UCD has “three times as many applicants for on-campus accommodation as we can supply accommodation to, so we see that the way to relieve the squeeze on the student accommodation market – which is leading to such outrageous prices being charged for just basic digs – is to put more accommodation on the market”.