Student accommodation to be used as short term stay for tourists and other renters

Niamh Quinlan

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 as predicted for the coming academic year due to Covid-19.

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 on Dublin’s 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 Pereira, 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… at the end of the day, Uninest is a business and they have to make money” said Periera.

“But I think the thing about Covid now though is that Uninest could be welcoming someone onto their property that is Covid positive. And they’ll be using the same facilities as a student and there’ll be a risk of transmission [of the virus],” he said.

Aidan also said that should someone in the accommodation test positive, the chances of contracting the virus might actually be 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-19 risk, there has been some backlash on the decision to implement this scheme. Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said that these continuous short leases could turn the student accommodation into co-living developments.

Co-living is 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 and Taoiseach Micheál Martin acknowledging 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.”

Niamh Quinlan

Image Credit: UNINEST