More purpose built student accommodation is needed for students as frantic searches get underway in the City.
Student accommodation in Cork is currently fully booked for September, more than one month before the first round of college places are offered to students.
University College Cork (UCC) has confirmed its campus accommodation is currently fully booked for this year, although additional spaces will become available following the CAO offers in August.
While Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) does not have campus owned purpose built accommodation, private apartments in close proximity to the Institute are also fully booked for the upcoming academic year.
“There is a dire, dire need for more purpose built student accommodation,” letting agent with ERA Downey McCarthy Kelly Mellerick said.
“We literally had people contacting us in May, which was way too far away for places come September. It’s an awful position to be in but we’d only get a month’s notice from each house.” Private letting agencies like ERA Downey McCarthy are expecting an influx of students to contact them in the coming weeks, according to Ms Mellerick.
“Last year, we had referrals calling from all over the country in a panic during August.” Recently, Ms Mellerick had 20 people show up for a viewing for a one-bedroomed apartment.
Ms Mellerick believes purpose-built student accommodation would also help alleviate pressure on the private rental market.
“It’s badly, badly needed especially in Cork where we have big and prominent colleges.” In a statement, a UCC spokesperson said: “Student accommodation is a challenge for all universities. This is an issue on which the University management team is actively working.”
“While we are currently not in a position to guarantee accommodation to University applicants who have not already secured it; applicants can take comfort in the knowledge that the vast majority of students who received a UCC offer last year were successful in securing accommodation.”
“It should be noted that UCC is working with private accommodation complexes to secure beds for UCC students for the coming academic year.”
UCC Campus Accommodation is also currently in the process of refurbishing University Hall, one of their four properties with the capacity for 180 beds, which will be ready by the end of August.
Advice about accommodation will be made available for students early next week on the UCC website, the spokesperson added.
“What’s happening around the country is that returning students, second, third and fourth years are reserving on campus accommodation in advance,” president of the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) Michael Kerrigan said.
“Generally most purpose-built accommodation will leave spaces for new incoming students but it’s never enough. Purpose built accommodation can be ideal for first years but generally there is never enough left by the time offers come around,” he added.
USI has called for more purpose built accommodation “But we have seen a lot of opposition to such developments from local residents around the country.” There has also been a slight increase this year in the number of homeowners signing up for digs, he added.
Students should start looking for accommodation now if they haven’t already, Mr Kerrigan said.
“Look for accommodation as soon as possible, some places will let you put down a deposit before your results are out and return if your plans change. But be wary of places who don’t return deposits. Also look for accommodation that isn’t solely on-campus.”