By Sarah Gill
This week, the Menlo Park Apartment complex have announced a rent increase of an extortionate 20 percent. These privately-owned apartments are located on the Headford Road and accommodate roughly 140 NUI Galway students each year. Rent prices have been steadily increasing year after year, but this year’s increase has seen the price of a single en-suite room rise by €1,390, in comparison to last year’s prices.
NUI Galway’s Students’ Union have publicly confronted the apartment complex, with SU President Megan Reilly stating, “It is beyond frustrating that a year after our efforts protesting the accommodation price rise in Cúirt na Corribe, we are facing yet another such increase in one of our accommodation providers. These kind of rent increases, not captured by the Residential Tenancies Act, exploit students in a time of an accommodation crisis, and they must not go unchallenged.”
Last year, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government made a commitment that a legislation would be introduced to extend the four percent rent cap rule to purpose-built student accommodation, but this has yet to come to fruition. According to the Residential Tenancies Board, Rent Pressure Zones are designated areas where rent can only be increase by a maximum of four percent a year. These zones are located in areas where rent is higher and rising, intended to moderate the increases and create a stable and sustainable rental market.
Voicing the outrage experienced by a number of students, Megan continued to say, “The failure of the Government to act on this matter means unregulated rent increases in student accommodation continue to happen, while the private housing surrounding these areas is bound by the 4 percent rule. Soaring accommodation prices continue to be one of the biggest barriers to securing a third level education, with parents now being faced with paying the increase, or students having to work extra hours to afford to live in Galway.”
Image via Booking.com