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Double blow for student renters in Galway


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Double blow for student renters in Galway Double blow for student renters in Galway

Students attending University of Galway next September face rent hikes of at least 30%, and up to 60%, in some private rented accommodation.

The University of Galway’s Students Union has blasted private operator Hubble Living, which has confirmed massive rent increases for its rooms at the accommodation village formerly known as Cúirt na Coiribe.

Meanwhile, in a double whammy, rents at two-fifths of rooms at University of Galway’s on-campus accommodation will also increase for the upcoming academic year.

The university has confirmed that it will reduce or freeze rents in 57% of its rooms in the three accommodation units it manages – but it will increase rents in its newer developments. The increase applies to 43% of its stock.

This is separate to the move by Hubble Galway but was announced to staff just days after the private operator emailed residents about its planned increase for the next academic year.

Dean Kenny, President of University of Galway Students’ Union, told the Galway City Tribune that he was opposed to rent increases at Hubble and those applied by the university on campus – but he conceded the former was far worse than the latter.

Mr Kenny said students currently in deluxe ensuite rooms on the Headford Road property faced a minimum increase in rent of €2,500 – that’s up 30%.

He said the hike was a “slap in the face” for his members.

“Students in Galway are already paying amongst the highest rents in Europe, and this latest increase is disgraceful. It will force more students into the overcrowded private rented market, leaving them at the mercy of landlords that often take advantage. Or they may have to stay at home and commute long distances to attend their lectures,” he said.

Hubble Living offered six different room rates for accommodation for the current academic year 2023-2024. Prices ranged from €6,163 to €8,484 for nine months depending on the room type (single, twin, deluxe) and whether it was ensuite.

But existing tenants were emailed options available for the 2024/25 academic year which included just two rates – €10,070 for a deluxe room and €11,045 for a deluxe ensuite for 39 weeks.

Rents for the deluxe room are being increased by 30% for the next academic year compared with this year.

But Mr Kenny pointed out that the cheapest room available in Hubble Galway in 2024/25 will be €10,070. That’s up 63% on the cheapest room available in the complex during the current term – or a rent increase of €3,907.

Hubble Living offered its existing residents a two-week discounted rate if they booked before February 18. This applied to what it called “newly-refurbished rooms”.

The discount did not apply to students not currently living in the facility and was not applicable to rooms that were not refurbished.

It said ”light construction works” may continue as part of the “redevelopment of the property”. Residents who “think this is something that will cause you concern” were advised not to book in for the upcoming academic year.

Mr Kenny said the Hubble Living rent rises “were completely unacceptable in a cost-of-living crisis and will not be taken lightly”.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Mr Kenny said the union also opposed the move by University of Galway to increase rents at 43% of its rooms.

Deputy President and Registrar Pól Ó Dochartaigh confirmed to staff in a circular that rents in more than half of its beds (57%) would reduce or freeze for the next academic year.

In Corrib Village, prices are reducing for 764 beds, and “will be reduced by about €100 in many cases”, he said.

Rents will be frozen in 305 beds in newer buildings, Goldcrest and Dunlin. But to achieve those reductions, the university was increasing prices for 798 of its most expensive rooms in those two developments.

“Our lowest rates are now cheaper than they were in 2017; we have a wider range of price points, and we are making instalments more manageable as we take into consideration the cost burden on families. This reflects our commitment to supporting our students in their academic journey and is more progressive than any other Irish university.

“This reduction in accommodation rates will have a positive impact on our university community and will help ensure our students have access to the resources they need to thrive,” Mr Ó Dochartaigh said.

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