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28/09/2021

Limerick students in hotels; as extent of housing crisis laid bare

Limerick students in hotels; bunk beds in the kitchen - extent of housing crisis laid bare

Limerick students are finding it almost impossible to source accomodation

AS the third level accommodation crisis continues to spiral,  Limerick students and their parents are paying hundreds of euro a week to stay in hotels.

The Mary Immaculate College students union has confirmed it has struck deals with some well-known local hotels to offer three-day and five-day rates for those studying on its campus.

And in another development this week, it’s emerged the University of Limerick has been forced to remove an “unsuitable” house listing from its accommodation web site which appears to show a bunk-beds located in a kitchen.

The accommodation was placed on the site in error by the college and it was removed as soon as they were notified of the advert. 

Three hotels in Limerick are charging between €300 and €390 per person per week to students who have been unable to find accommodation, with the situation described as being “unsustainable” by one student.

According to figures from the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), the average weekly rate for students in private rented accommodation in Limerick is €250 – but unlike hotels, these can be used seven days a week.

Roisin Burke, Mary Immaculate College’s students union president said: “It has eased people’s worries somewhat. But it’s not a permanent solution. We need more affordable actual student-based housing. Spaces for young people to live.”

In the case of two of the three hotels, the five-day hotel rate only covers between Sunday and Thursday nights, meaning students are forced to pack their bags and move for the weekend.

Other students have taken to contacting local Airbnb hosts seeking long-term accommodation.

One 22-year-old German student said: “I’ve been looking for an apartment in Limerick since June, and still haven’t found anything. Almost all flats have a contract of nine months and I’m only here until December, so I don’t get viewings at all. The situation feels impossible.”

This Tuesday UL confirmed it removed a house advert from its accommodation list which advertises off-campus accommodation. Pictures on the advertisement show a bunk bed located in a kitchen beside an electric hob, sparking health-and-safety concerns. UL Student Life described the unit as “shocking and upsetting”.

“The photographs clearly display a room that is in no way compliant with the minimum standards for rented residential accommodation as stated by the RTB,” they added in a statement to the Limerick Leader.

The University of Limerick has apologised with a spokesperson insisting the photos of the 'unsuitable' accommodation was posted in error.

"There was unfortunately an unsuitable house posted to the PCC (Plassey Campus Centre) hosted off-campus accommodation list in error. It was immediately removed once it was brought to the attention of PCC and the University," he said.

"UL is aware that there are students who have been unable to secure accommodation in the locality with demand at its highest in recent memory. This has been exacerbated by a pattern of private landlords leaving the student rental market," he added.

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