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28/09/2021

Student behaviour has caused Limerick landlords 'to exit rental market’

Student behaviour has caused Limerick landlords 'to exit rental market’

A photograph this Tuesday of what appears to be the aftermath of a party at one of the estates near UL

A LIMERICK property letting agent has suggested the anti-social behaviour of some students has resulted in many landlords either selling up, or renting to professionals instead.

This week, the Limerick Leader has highlighted a surge in demand for student accommodation units, with suggestions demand has spiked 30% since 2016, while the supply of property has fallen.

Kersten Mehl, who runs KMPM in Shannon Street, claims students have “reaped what they’ve sewn”, and said there’s simply no rooms left for them.

“The real difficulty is the students have caused a lot of difficulty for agents and landlords during Covid-19. The second Covid [lockdown], it was like party time. For example, as an agent, I’d have had 32 properties rented to students before Covid-1 [the first lockdown]. Now I’d have around 12,” he said.

Mr Mehl added: “I would have no student properties if I could, but there are some in the heart of student land, and no-one else would rent them,”

He said one of the student properties he manages saw damage worth €4,660, something he described as his “worst experience in 44 years”.

In a statement, UL Student Life said it is “short sighted and unfair to paint all students with this same brush and suggest that blame falls solely on the students for the lack of accommodation availability.”

“The community here is, in many ways, a microcosm of our society at large, so a lack of accommodation here speaks to the national issue we all face,” the group added.

They said that while there have been some “negatives” over the years involving a “small minority” of students, “we believe it is not right to dwell on that and, overall, we feel that our students are good neighbours and a positive presence.”

Mr Mehl said new laws set to be brought in by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien which make it illegal for a landlord to ask for more than a month’s rent deposit, has reduced the “insurance” of landlords in case of damage to the home.

Aine Daly, the president of the students' union of the soon-to-be-formed Technical University of the Shannon said the bill which will outlaw the semester-by-semester paying is a welcome move.

She said: “It gives the students the opportunity of renting accommodation and paying monthly rather than per semester which can grow up to €3,000 which segregates a lot of students from accessing them. Housing is fundamental for students accessing and participating in student life, the image of seeing students as cash cows shouldn’t exist.”

Roisin Burke, the president of Mary Immaculate College’s student union added: “Covid-19 impacted all of us, including students, and we are aware that there were landlords or agents who were unwilling to support or to recognise that students were put in a difficult position when academic delivery moved online at the beginning of the Covid pandemic and they were required to move home.”

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