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Students revolt over massive rental increase in Galway accommodation

Third-level students are rebelling against a massive hike in rent for purpose-built accommodation within a stone’s throw of University of Galway.

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition urging Hubble Living to reverse its recent rent hikes on student accommodation.

University of Galway Students Union has ramped up pressure on management of the student flats on Headford Road (formerly Cúirt na Coiribe), which last month announced rent hikes of a minimum of 30%.

In the past week, SU President Dean Kenny has been lobbying the company to reverse the increase – an online petition has garnered over 900 signatures.

And Galway West TD, Mairéad Farrell (SF) brought the issue to the floor of Dáil Éireann where she scolded Hubble Living for the rent rises and lashed Government for legislation allowing vulture funds to provide student accommodation.

Mr Kenny said the rent hikes of a minimum of €2,500 for an academic year will impact at least 500 students.

The SU, he said, had been inundated with queries from members who are concerned about not being able to pay their rents next year.

“The news that Hubble accommodation is hiking their prices for the coming year is an absolute slap in the face to students. Students in Galway are already paying amongst the highest rents in Europe, and this latest development is absolutely disgraceful.

“This move will force more students into the overcrowded private rented market, leaving them at the mercy of landlords that often take advantage. Alternatively, they may have to stay at home and commute long distances to attend their lectures,” Mr Kenny 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 2024-2025 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 2024/2025 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.

Mr Kenny urged people to sign the petition on Uplift.

Siobhán O’Donoghue, executive director at Uplift, said: “Housing should be a human right for all and to take advantage of the housing crisis, knowing that students have nowhere else to go, by hiking rents by an eye-watering 30% is disgraceful. All of us, no matter who we are or where we come from, deserve to have a roof over our heads and to live without worrying that we won’t make next month’s rent.”

Hubble Living was contacted for comment.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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