Rents in Hazelwood student accommodation have been reduced by €15 per person a week after rogue property management company Academy Walk were evicted from the apartment complex.
A number of Academy Walk’s unethical practices were reported in the Irish Independent last September, including requiring a €500 “non-refundable deposit” and charging €100 if a student had overnight visitors.
The landlords of the 14 apartments managed by Academy Walk went to the courts to obtain early release from their contracts, but it was a protracted process, Vice President for Welfare & Equality Cody Byrne told The College View.
“The leaders of Academy Walk were refusing to go to court, they weren’t at their home address, they weren’t answering anything so it took a few weeks to get the court orders delivered by email, at which point it was undeniable,” he said.
After the court orders were delivered, security in the complex were fired and the 14 apartments moved to the care of Harrington Property Management.
Despite this, Academy Walk office staff maintained a presence at Hazelwood until January 31st, despite having no apartments to manage and therefore no income. “I think it was just a pride thing,” Byrne said.
Byrne had been in liaison with Harrington Property Management over rents since before exams started in this year’s first semester.
“They were looking to get more students in as students were leaving, from there they contacted me about two to three weeks later saying they were struggling to get students in, then again a week afterwards before saying they couldn’t fill the rooms,” Byrne said.
“So I said what about reducing rents?” Byrne said, pointing out to them that it would also be the best way to fight the “bad label Hazelwood has now” due to Academy Walk’s behaviour.
Harrington have now reduced rents from €175 per person per week to €160 per person per week.
The knock-on effects of the Academy Walk scandal can also be seen elsewhere, Byrne said.
“When the whole Hazelwood thing kicked off, Gateway Student Village sent me an email being like I hope we can work together and keep this peaceful. They’ve taken nice initiatives – they disabled the turnstiles, they’re allowed have people into the rooms now whereas last year they weren’t.”
Byrne expressed delight at Academy Walk’s defeat, saying: “The students shouldn’t be taking that. It was a big highlight of my year.”