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Why landlords should let to students

Guest blog by Marcus O’Halloran UCD Students’ Union President. Leaving Certificate results are out this Wednesday — 1,000s of secondary school graduates will be looking to fly the coup for the first time. It won’t be easy for them to find student accommodation in Dublin, with the private rental sector so small and cramped in Irish university cities. They’re going to be newcomers to a competitive market with a short timeframe to find a place. But I’d say the one good thing they have going for them is the light this past summer has thrown on Irish students as a community.


If you’re a landlord hesitating at the idea of letting to students, I’d ask you to look back on the past three months and at two major events in particular.


Firstly, the marriage equality referendum in May, which saw 18-24 year olds put their weight behind a hugely important civil rights movement. They were a key part to the win on May 23rd by canvassing, campaigning and registering over 30,000 new student voters. 1,000s of young graduates spent money returning from overseas just to participate on Friday May 22nd. It all should go some way to changing minds about the character of students. The kind of image you’d have of an undesirable tenant—unreliable, untrustworthy, undependable—isn’t one compatible with the kind of people that volunteer their free time for constitutional reform.


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The second thing to happen this summer centring around young Irish people was completely different in nature— it was a tragedy. On June 16th, a balcony collapsed in Berkeley, California, killing 6 J1 students and injuring 7 more. This loss of life impacted heavily on the tight-knit student community, especially around Dublin. Friends of those involved banded together in the aftermath and tried to help the families affected. Vigils and memorial services were arranged, fundraisers were organized to help cover flights home for funerals and costs for survivors with life-altering injuries.


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The praise for & stories of young people trying to help following the Berkeley disaster should impact on landlords over the next few weeks when deciding whether to let to incoming CAO students. It should be clearer now that young people aren’t wanton. It’s understandable that landlords worry about destruction of property, negligence or non-payment, but protecting against those events should never mean categorically refusing students a viewing. It should be clearer now that buying into the idea that students don’t care about others or don’t care about the cost to the landlord of damages means buying into a prejudice.


Summer 2015 should make it clearer that the young person phoning up to request a viewing for student accommodation in Dublin, in September is probably just as conscientious as anyone else on the list. There are enough news stories that people should be happy to let to students as a group:


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