Almost one in every five Galway houses is empty and NUI Galway
According to the preliminary Census results, Galway has a vacancy rate of 15 per cent, with more than 20,000 homes vacant on the night of Sunday April 24.
Of this, 3,977 are vacant holiday homes which remain unoccupied for the majority of the calendar year.
Despite these figures, Galway students were forced to live in hostels as they studied at university, or forced to travel long distances in order to attend a Galway college.
NUI Galway has taken the first step to rectify the situation by committing to purpose-built infrastructure.
“The university is committed to building 1,000 bed spaces by the year 2020,” said NUI Galway’s accommodation officer Teresa Kelly.
“Four hundred and twenty nine student beds have been approved by An Bord Pleanála,” she added, “and will go out to tender by November 2016, with a view to being complete and operational for September 2018.”
In the meantime, NUI Galway is hosting an information evening for those interested in renting a room or a house, in order to fight against the growing crisis.
The evening will provide free advice on how a person can earn up to €12,000 tax free by renting to incoming or current students.
“This is a great opportunity, it is a ‘win-win’ situation for the householder, the student, their family, and the university,” said John Hannon, director of student services at NUI Galway.
“We have really positive feedback from people who have rented a room. It is more than the opportunity to earn income tax free, there is also a social benefit from each other’s company, and increased safety for student and householder.”
Mr Hannon will be a speaker at the event, alongside Threshold’s Diarmuid O’Sullivan, and Student’s Union president Jimmy McGovern.
Winter’s Property Management’s Martin Gill will then host a Q&A session, and interested landlords will be shown the support available to them through the university.
Ms Kelly also stated that NUI Galway would be more than willing to work with holiday home owners should the opportunity arise, and additional information be made available to her office.
The information evening will take place on Tuesday July 21 at 6pm in The View Room, Bailey Allen, Áras na Mac Léinn, on the NUI Galway campus.
For more information, contact Teresa Kelly in NUI Galway’s accommodation office on 091 492364, or email [email protected].