THE ‘perfect storm’ of a lack of rental accommodation, combined with landlords selling off properties, has created a crisis in Kinsale for students and professionals seeking to live in the town.
Local estate agent Victoria Murphy told The Southern Star this week that her company hasn’t rented out any properties for more than five months. ‘We would normally have had 10 properties on our books to rent, but we have nothing at the moment,’ she said.
‘There are no places to rent in Kinsale and rents are generally increasing too. What’s even happening is that tenants that are renting seem to be renewing their leases, as they have nowhere to go if they move out. There isn’t a sufficient supply of houses to meet the demand.’
The director of the Kinsale College of Further Education, Liz Moynihan, said that the college has advised many of its students who are not from the area to look at accommodation options outside of Kinsale in nearby towns and villages, like Bandon and Innishannon.
‘There is plenty of accommodation in Bandon and students can then avail of a free bus service between the two towns run by Local Link, which brings them to and from college,’ said Liz.
‘There are ways around the accommodation problem once people are prepared to travel in from surrounding towns and villages, and especially if they are on the bus route,’ she explained.
The accommodation crisis in Kinsale was also highlighted this week on RTÉ when Paul Lynham told Liveline that his son, Fiachra Ó Laigheánáin, 20, a student in Kinsale, had to sleep in a tent on the grounds of a hostel for three weeks, along with his friend, at the start of the term.
‘The hostel was full up with other students seeking accommodation and they let Fiachra and his friend camp out in a tent for three weeks while being allowed to use the hostel’s facilities,’ Paul told The Southern Star.
‘I even sat down one day and rang every estate agent in Kinsale and they told me there was no accommodation whatsoever in the town. I’m more worried for Fiachra than disappointed, and we don’t know what he will do beyond the mid-term. Fiachra isn’t the only student who hasn’t found accommodation and he’s lucky he can stay with friends from college.’
Fiachra, who is in his second year of his drama course at the Kinsale College of Further Education, is now ‘couch-surfing’ at a friend’s house after it got too cold to stay in the tent.
He says he knows about 20 students who are all looking for accommodation in the town.
‘Staying in a tent for three weeks wore me down alright and by the end of the second week I had enough of it. I’m waiting to see after the Jazz weekend if properties come available after the tourists are gone, but I may have to branch out and look to areas like Riverstick or Belgooly,’ said Fiachra.
‘It’s a shame really, as there’s a good student life here, so I would be missing out on that aspect alright, but securing accommodation is more important.’