TUS student living in ‘converted’ kitchen covered in mould as housing crisis worsens

Some students are forced to live in houses with “mouldy carpets, a leaky roof and mouldy walls” as they have nowhere else to go.

Limerick Voice spoke to an international student who was forced to take the issue of his household’s unkept refuse into his own hands after his landlord repeatedly neglected to organise for their bins to be collected.

Neighbours spotted that a pile of rubbish had been sitting outside the Castletroy house for about a week, without any sign of it being cleared. Eventually, the tenants were left to deal with the problem themselves.

This reporter was able to get in contact with Mike (Pseudonym), a tenant living in the house, and he explained to Limerick Voice that the problem runs much deeper than bins not being collected.

Mike is a second year student, studying at The Technological University of the Shannon (TUS). He rents the house with two of his friends.

He told Limerick Voice: “I want to tell my story and hope that everyone will be careful about housing traps.” 

The owner of the house is from China, and Mike decided to rent his room based solely on the photos available on social media, given the lack of housing he could find elsewhere.

Upon arrival, Mike found that the house was in a very bad condition – with warped floors, mouldy carpets, a leaky roof, and mouldy walls.

He also noted that the rent him and his housemates are paying is far from cheap.

To make matters worse, the room Mike lives in was allegedly illegally converted from a kitchen, just to charge extra rent for a room.

Despite facing such poor living conditions, Mike said that it isn’t as simple as just finding another place to live and moving there.

Due to the increase in the number of students, both Irish and international, college accommodation cannot provide enough housing, so many students live off-campus.

According to the Accommodation Survey of International Students 2022 released by the Irish Council for International Students – Ireland’s housing crisis has long-since reached an unprecedented level of severity.

Finding accommodation has become a huge source of stress, particularly for international students who have no family living in Ireland. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation, leaving many international students with the option of living in overcrowded, cramped and substandard housing.

Photo: Rental Sector in Ireland 2021 from Central Statistics Office

A UL staff member was made aware of this particular landlord and has reported him to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). Limerick Voice will continue to follow the situation and will cover any significant updates.

The tense situation in Ireland’s rental market makes it difficult to find housing with suitable prices, convenient locations, and good quality.

Mike hopes that his story reminds international students to stay vigilant and safeguard their rights and interests when choosing to rent an apartment. He hopes that by focusing on such issues, more measures to care for and improve housing conditions will be implemented.

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