Some 1,600 student accommodation in Dublin City Centre will be used by tourists and other renters for short-stay rental, after a deal was struck with Dublin City Council.
The five accommodation facilities, operating under the Uninest brand, has had a low demand for student accommodation was predicted for the coming academic year. In a statement made to the Irish Times, representatives said the rooms would make for “attractive and affordable” accommodation for holiday or general rental in the city centre.
Uninest have four complexes northside: Ardcairn house on Grangegorman Lower; Broadstone hall on Phibsboro road; Highfield Park on North Circular Road; Dominick Place on Dominick Street Upper; and Kavanagh Court on Gardiner Street. Southside there is the Tannery complex in the Liberties.
Dublin City Council approved this scheme with the condition that all short-term renters would have a maximum two-month long lease.
Students will continue to live in the same facilities as short-stay renters, but they will be segregated.
Aidan Periera, a student resident at the Uninest Kavanagh Court accommodation, said that he was unaware of the decision to introduce this short-stay rental scheme. “Here’s the thing,” he said, “at the end of the day, Uninest is a business and they have to make money.
“But I think the thing about Covid now though is that Uninest will be welcoming someone onto their property that is Covid positive. And they’ll be using the same facilities as students and there’ll be risk of transmission [of the virus].”
Aidan also said that should someone in the accommodation test positive, the chances of contracting the virus are low. “Here, the only facilities that are open are the laundry room and the gym, and you’ve to book a slot to use the gym,” he said. “The real risk is when I leave the property.”
Besides a possible increased Covid risk, there has been some backlash on the decision. Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said that these continuous short leases could turn the student accommodation into co-living developments.
Co-living a concept whereby residents get their own furnished bedroom but share communal areas, such as a kitchen or living space. The concept has been the centre of some controversy recently with Sinn Féin pushing a Bill to ban co-living accommodation.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin acknowledged in October that co-living “has the potential to become glorified tenement living given the nature of some of the applications I have seen and what could transpire.”