Leaving Cert results to trigger flats frenzy

Flashback...last year's Leaving Certs Aoife Carroll, Katie Donoghue, Niamh Casey and Caoilinn Doyle from St. Brigid’s College, Loughrea, clearly delighted with their results a year ago. This year's class await their fate next Wednesday. Photo: Hany Marzouk

With the Leaving Certificate results less than a week away, the scramble for student digs in the city is about to begin in earnest – with hundreds of Galway students set to enter the rental market for the first time.

For four years now, Galway students have been facing an “accommodation crisis” with the demand for lettings far exceeding the numbers of available properties.

As revealed by this paper earlier this year, a number of students have been retaining rental properties for the duration of the summer to avoid house hunting for the new academic year.

This, coupled with rising rents, increased student numbers and the loss of large amounts of private property to professional tenants leaves students waiting on CAO offers in an almost impossible situation.

The problem is compounded by worsening traffic problems in the city – making commuting between city and county a very unattractive option.

Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, President of NUI Galway Students’ Union, Lorcán Ó Maoileannaigh, said that problems were already arising – with the union being contacted by a number of students lamenting demands for extortionate deposits.

“The biggest problem so far seems to be the demand for huge payments up front this year – one girl was actually in touch saying that she had been asked by a landlord for €900 up front,” said Mr Ó Maoileannaigh.

The Students’ Union and the University have been working together to alleviate the problem, Mr Ó Maoileannaigh claimed.

“Your typical student accommodation in Galway, whether that’s Corrib Village, Gort na Coiribe, Dúnaras or wherever, is already full.

“We, both the Students’ Union and the college, have been reaching out to potential landlords to create digs – we hold information nights on the rent a room scheme which allows the landlord to take up to €12,000 tax-free.

“We had a financial expert in going through that – if people have one or two rooms to spare or their children have moved out, it’s a great opportunity to rent to a student,” said Mr Ó Maoileannaigh.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.