Soaring rent prices and a lack of accommodation in Dublin is forcing third level students to choose to study outside of the capital or in many cases, commute.
Finding accommodation, and the money to finance it, is a huge struggle for students and one student who knows this more than most is 22 year old, Cian.
Cian is a third level engineering student in DIT who said he was forced to live in hotels and travelodges for a whole college year due to the rocketing prices and lack of rented accommodation. “Yeah there were a few of us living rough if you like, it was a tough time”, says the 22 year old.
“We had a house, it was a two bed, among four of us, on Sherad Street, but is was so unsafe that we just couldn’t stay. The house was infested with rats and there was a huge hole in the roof, the floor boards hadn’t been laid properly and the house was so damp, it was just horrendous”, says the DIT student.
After moving out of this house, Cian said that he and six of his friends were practically homeless. “We grabbed couches where we could, our friends were great but we couldn’t stay anywhere permanent, some nights we were staying on couches of people we barely even knew”, he explains.
Cian says that him and six of his friends moved from hotel to hotel each week. “We couldn’t let on that there were six of us in the room so one of us would check in and pay and then the rest of us would pay that person our share”, he says.
Renting a room in the capital, if you are lucky enough to find one, can cost anywhere from €400 to €600 a month, according to adverts on Daft.ie, Myhome.ie and various other accommodation advertising sites.
“We did save a lot of money living in hotels, but it was a horrible and stressful time”, says the engineering student. “We are from Leitrim so commuting just wasn’t an option and the hotels cost about €160 a week, so among the six of us that wasn’t too bad”.
The hotel life was far from luxurious for the students Cian explains, “We were all on top of each other, we had no privacy and then there’s the problem of not being able to make any food, bar a dodgy cup of tea”.
“We spent about €50 a week on eating out and to be honest it was all crap cheap food, like Burger King and McDonalds”, he says.
Living in digs is becoming more and more popular now as students will take anything they can get. Laura is a 25 year old student who shares her experiences of living in digs.
“I got a room in a house and lived with the homeowner, a woman, and her young daughter”, she says. “The room was lovely and the rent wasn’t too bad so I was happy enough, but there was a lot of rules, which, as an independent adult, was slightly annoying”.
Laura explains how she wasn’t even allowed her boyfriend over, “he wasn’t allowed to step a foot inside the house, the woman was concerned that her daughter would be getting a bad example. One day he carried in my bags for me and I got a bit of a warning”, laughs the 25 year old.
“The house was lovely, reasonably priced and I was close to my placement so I put up with the rules”, she says.
The Higher Education Authority has admitted that this is the first year it has seen students being forced to put off college because they cannot find adequate accommodation.
With thousands of students opting to study in Dublin every year the problem is a growing one, which needs “short-term solutions not long-term aspirations” according to the Fianna Fáil leader, Michael Martin.