Housing minister says government has no short-term solution to lack of student housing


THE GOVERNMENT has no short-term solution to the problem of students forced to spend hundreds of euros per week for hotel rooms for lack of student accommodation, admitted Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien.

It emerged last Tuesday that students in Dublin and Limerick were spending up to € 400 per week on hotel rooms. It is understood that the problem may be more prevalent across the country.

Speaking in Limerick today, O’Brien said it was “an immediate and very serious problem” but explained that there was no short-term solution.

“This is not going to be resolved overnight, but there is immediate attention to the student housing issue right now,” O’Brien said.

“In fact, I discussed this with Simon Harris earlier this week, and we actually have a bilateral meeting next week on this same issue. This is a serious problem for students at the moment, some of them pay 300/400 per week to stay in hotels.

O’Brien said he and Simon Harris, Minister of Advanced Education, would assess ways of “how to expand student housing across the country.”

“There has been engagement through higher education and with the university sector as well. In some parts of the country, we’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of purpose-built student housing, but not all students can access it. “

The minister said there was a “particular problem in Limerick”.

When asked if he had any ideas on a short-term solution for students, O’Brien pointed out that the Covid-19 pandemic had crippled the supply of housing.

He replied: “Last year we had a construction halt and we had to deliver 33,000 homes, which feeds the private residential sector, home ownership, social housing and student housing. We are 13,000 short due to Covid. “

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“This year we have seen a (construction) pickup in the last couple of months, but we will probably, at best, achieve around 22,000 homes completed, that’s 11,000 less, so supply l ‘affected.”

He added that he recently led the introduction “to protect students to ensure students are covered by the Residential Tenancies Commission, to restrict the amount of deposits any landlord can claim from a student.” .

The minister called a recent advertisement offering bunk beds in a kitchen in a house near the University of Limerick “totally and totally unacceptable”.

“I have seen some of these advertisements and would say to people with substandard housing, complaints can be channeled through the local authority or the RTB.” “I have seen some of what are called studio type apartments, which are literally beds in kitchens, this is wrong and luckily it is not by and large, but where the standards are not respected, the RTB will take care of it. “

O’Brien said the only long-term solution to the lack of student housing is to “provide more housing.”

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