College students are still looking for accommodation in Cork a month into the new term

College students are still looking for accommodation in Cork a month into the new term

Student Phillip Brennan at UCC. He has had no luck finding accommodation during his first four weeks in the city. Picture: Denis Minihane

STUDENTS in both UCC and CIT are still trying to find a place to live for the college year.

It is believed that tens of students are still looking for accommodation, amid record-high rents and lack of available rooms.

Many students are being forced to commute long distances each day, with some even staying in hostels in the city.

Phillip Brennan, a first-year UCC student, says that he had no luck finding a place to live for the first four weeks of the semester.

He lives in Clonakilty, which is roughly an hour’s drive away from Cork city, not including traffic.

Fortunately, he managed to find a place last Monday, but he hasn’t been able to move in yet.

“I was weeks looking for a place, it is week five of college now,” he said. “I was getting the bus up.

“It can take up to two hours each way with traffic, and it’s very unpredictable.

“It’s €19 return each day, which eats into my pocket.”

Phillip adds that because he’s under 20, he isn’t earning minimum wage. He says this is another barrier to renting young students face.

“It’s just madness.”

Phillip said that many of the landlords he did house viewings with had “poor communication”.

“I went to a house viewing last Saturday, and the house was being refurbished,” he said. “They told me to come back on Monday when there would be a viewing.

“I travelled all the way up on Monday, only to be told the room was gone. It was a complete waste of time.”

Phillip says student accommodation for UCC booked out before the CAO results were out, and costs €8,000 to €10,000 per year. It’s also paid in a lump sum, not monthly, which makes this option unfeasible for some students.

“The SUSI grant does help, but rent costs so much the grant doesn’t cover it,” he said. “There’s also just a lack of accommodation.

“Many of my friends are sleeping on couches or commuting long distances.”

Phillip also says undergraduate students and male students are less likely to be picked for a room, with many ads stating “postgraduates and females only”.

Naoise Crowley, UCC’s Students’ Union Welfare Officer, said that that the student accommodation crisis is “undoubtedly a difficult situation.”

“There is a massive undersupply of Purpose Built Student Accommodation in Cork at present,” she said.

“This pushes students into what can only be described as a dysfunctional private rental market, with the Residential Tenancies Board Rent Index highlighting a 7.1% increase in the price of rent last year.

“This ends up having a considerable impact on student poverty and ultimately mental health, in addition to the overall college experience of students.

“There certainly are students still in search of accommodation, which is completely unacceptable. Some of these students are staying in hostels, with others sleeping on friends’ couches.

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