More than 1,000 students could be left homeless in Limerick when the college year begins next month, an accommodation provider has warned.
usinessman Colm Moore – who runs a website linking tenants with vacant rooms – has predicted an “Armageddon” scenario where hundreds of first-years will be scrambling for a place to live.
Many students are already arriving in the city and making door-to-door inquiries with their parents in the hope of securing a roof over their heads, he said.
It comes as Limerick’s three third-level institutions – the University of Limerick, Technological University of the Shannon and Mary Immaculate College – launched a joint effort to persuade homeowners to let out any spare rooms they have to students for the coming academic year.
With college attendance set to be higher than the last two years due to the end of Covid-19 restrictions, a University of Limerick spokesperson said demand for accommodation is “at its highest in living memory”.
Mr Moore, who lives on Limerick’s north side, believes
that up to 4,500 new college students will descend on the Treaty city next month.
He has collated data from inquiries to his own website, StandOutRenters, which matches people seeking a room to potential landlords.
“From a number of applicants-per-room perspective, a decent room in a decent home at a decent rate in Raheen would have 400 to 450, with 180 to 200 for Corbally,” he said.
Adding in Castletroy, close to the University of Limerick, demand becomes a lot higher.
He said many landlords have had to turn their phones off due to the sheer volume of calls they are receiving from people interested in taking a room.
“There’s generally about 2,000 people looking (at StandoutRenters) for a room at any one point,” Mr. Moore said.
He said students can increase their chances of securing accommodation if they are prepared to live further afield.
“If a renter is willing to cycle or drive 15 minutes, they might see a tenfold increase in the number of properties they could live in,” he said.
He pointed to areas such as Lisnagry, Ballingarry, Patrickswell and Kildimo, as locations where there are many empty rooms.
For the first time, the University of Limerick has appointed a student accommodation officer in order to assist in identifying off-campus accommodation that might be available for its students.
A university spokesperson asked all students to keep an eye on a dedicated part of its website which also provides accommodation details.
However, the dire prediction of students being left without accommodation has once again raised the prospect of students facing exhausting round trips to Limerick from their family homes in various counties across the country.
Last year, it emerged that a number of students coming to Limerick were living in city hotels – paying up to €400 a week – due to a lack of suitable accommodation.
Just 10 homes were available to rent in Limerick city last week.