DCU Campus Residences charges to apply for accommodation

Donal Corrigan

Image Credit: Alison Clair

DCU Campus Residences are introducing a €50 administration fee for incoming first-year students that are applying for a room on campus for the 2019/2020 year.

The fee will be non-refundable even for applicants who do not get a room on campus, according to their website. It was previously free to apply for a room through the Campus Residences website, however now each student must pay this fee in order to be eligible for a room on campus.

“I always knew that private landlords had no morals when it came to charging students nine and ten grand for accommodation. But at least your money is giving you something in return. Now the campus accommodation system expects us to pay €50 and not even get anything guaranteed in return. This leads me to believe the college isn’t any better than these corrupt landlords,” said Ellen Lane, a first year global business student hoping to secure on-campus accommodation next year.

The accommodation providers previously tried to introduce a €20 fee for the 2018/2019 academic year but decided against it before registration began last year. They have now decided to implement this charge but instead raise the price to €50 for the 2019/2020 academic year.

Campus Residences released an official response saying: “We understand the pressure that students are under and we want to do everything that we can to make that process as fair and efficient as we possibly can for everyone concerned.”

They went on to say that this same fee is in other universities and private student accommodation. Shanowen Square charges a deposit upon application, which is refunded if the student is not guaranteed a room due to oversubscription. According to their website, Shanowen Halls contacts applicants which are successful in securing a room and arranges a method for deposit payment then.

“ [the fee] has been introduced in an effort to get a clearer picture of the number of applicants who genuinely wish to reside in on-campus accommodation and to discourage non-serious applications who register for accommodation at DCU.”

The College View was told by another staff member in Campus Residence that the fee was being introduced to encourage Leaving Cert students to apply earlier for accommodation. Yet, applying earlier does not give students an advantage because rooms are allocated in a lottery system where students names are chosen at random.

Applying earlier would only be advantageous in a ‘first come first served’ basis for the new first-year students, which is not the case.

The Students’ Union were made aware about the introduction of a €50 deposit by Campus Residences last summer, however, they were not informed that this deposit would not be returned to unsuccessful applicants.

“If it is a case where people apply, they don’t get the room, and they don’t get the €50 back… from a personal perspective, I would definitely have an issue with that. I don’t think it’s fair. I wouldn’t think its right,” said DCU SU President Vito Moloney Burke.

Threshold, the housing rights charity, says that DCU accommodation does not fall under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. This act sets out the rights of tenants and landlords.

Students are not included in this act as they are not tenants in the accommodation for 365 days of the year.

Students that already have a profile set up on the website, such as second and third years, will not have to pay this new fee. They will go through a first come first served basis in contrast to the first years ‘lottery system’ that is used to allocate rooms.

Campus Residences advertise 1,400 rooms for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Donal Corrigan

Image Credit: Alison Clair