Student behavior prompted Limerick landlords to ‘leave the rental market’

A LIMERICK real estate rental agent suggested that the antisocial behavior of some students led many landlords to sell or rent to professionals instead.

This week, the Limerick leader highlighted an increase in demand for student housing units, with suggestions that demand has increased by 30% since 2016, while the supply of properties has fallen.

Kersten Mehl, who runs KMPM at Shannon Street, says the students “reaped what they sewn,” and said there just weren’t any rooms left for them.

“The real difficulty is that the students caused a lot of hardship for agents and owners during Covid-19. The second Covid [lockdown], it was like party time. For example, as an agent, I would have had 32 properties rented to students before Covid-1 [the first lockdown]. Now I have about 12, ”he said.

Mr Mehl added: “I wouldn’t have student accommodation if I could, but there is some in the heart of the student grounds, and no one else would rent them out,” he added.

He said one of the student properties he manages suffered damage worth € 4,660, which he described as his “worst experience in 44 years”.

In a statement, UL Student Life said it is “short-sighted and unfair to paint all students with this same brush and suggests that the blame lies solely on the students for the lack of housing availability.”

“The community here is, in many ways, a microcosm of our society as a whole, so a lack of accommodation here speaks to the national problem we all face,” the group added.

They said that while there have been “negatives” over the years involving a “small minority” of students, “we think it is not fair to dwell on this and, in overall, we believe our students are good neighbors and a positive presence. . “

Mr Mehl said new laws to be passed by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien that make it illegal for a landlord to ask for more than a month’s rent deposit have reduced landlord ‘insurance’ in case of damage to the house.

Aine Daly, president of the students’ union at the future Shannon Technical University, said the bill to ban semester-by-semester payment was a welcome move.

She said: “It gives students the option to rent accommodation and pay monthly rather than semester, which can reach € 3,000, which prevents many students from accessing it. Housing is fundamental for students to access and participate in student life, the image of seeing students as cash cows should not exist.

Roisin Burke, president of the student union at Mary Immaculate College, added: “Covid-19 has affected all of us, including students, and we are aware that there were owners or agents who were unwilling to support or recognize that the students were put in a difficult situation. position when academic delivery moved online at the start of the Covid pandemic and they had to move home. “

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