STUDENTS LIVING IN €249-a-week student accommodation in Dublin’s inner city have complained about months of ongoing construction work which they say has upset their studies and is negatively affecting their day-to-day lives.
A number of students staying at the New Mill student accommodation, on Mill Street in The Liberties, have come forward to complain about loud construction work ongoing since October.
One student who contacted TheJournal.ie said that the construction went on late some evenings and also took place outside of normal working hours.
As a result, they have been offered partial refunds and said they are considering taking legal action.
The roughly 400-bed accommodation opened in September last year.
It is owned and operated by the multinational company Global Student Accommodation, who operate it through their Uninest brand.
The development was subject to a lot of criticism last year when it was revealed that private rooms with shared kitchen and living areas would cost students a minimum of €249 a week.
GSA is one of a number of international student accommodation providers that have entered the Irish market in recent years in response to the chronic shortage in suitable places for students to live.
The accommodation was fully let out in advance and officially opened in September.
Students say that their time in the accommodation has been severely affected by ongoing construction work.
GSA is currently building a second accommodation unit adjacent to New Mill on Blackpitts Road, which will provide accommodation for a further 400 students.
Construction is ongoing on this site, and it is due to be opened in September on this year.
As well as this, students say that there is separate construction going on the ground and first floors of one of the accommodation blocks – which is causing the main issue.
The construction is preparing the block for the aparthotel company StayCity to move it’s head office into the building.
A spokesperson for StayCity confirmed that it would be relocating its head office to The Liberties in April.
“The issue is affecting everyone in our block, regardless of what floor they’re on,” one student, one student told TheJournal.ie.
Perera said that this construction has been ongoing since October, and that students have become increasingly frustrated by the noise.
“We have been subject to hammering and drilling sounds throughout most of the week and even during some weekends,” he said.
“While there is a sign downstairs that states construction must be strictly between 10.15-17.30 and kept to reasonable noise levels, we have had countless days where they began at 7.30am and kept going as late as 8-9pm on certain days.
We have also had many weekends where construction kept going
Students took to the public Facebook page of the New Mill student accommodation to voice their complaints in January.
“I’ve been here for six months now and the facilities are under constant construction,” one resident said.
I live on the fourth floor of one of the blocks, and our lift has been broken for an entire month of the six month tenancy.
Uninest responded to this complaint on Facebook.
“We have been working with and passing on all concerns to the builders on the site who are acting on behalf of the company undertaking the works,” Uninest responded.
“I am sorry that you have had a bad experience,” they said, before offering to meet with the resident.
The more information we have from you guys, the more we can pass on to them in relation to the issues you are having.
“New Mill has been terrible at communicating with us despite continuous complaints since late October,” one student told TheJournal.ie.
He said that GSA (through Uninest) had made efforts in recent weeks to address the students’ concerns, including offering them a partial refund of accommodation fees.
In an email – seen by TheJournal.ie – Uninest thanked the students for their patience with the works, and said it would provide them with updates as they became available.
“We have worked hard to build a relationship with the external contractors, and whilst Uninest Student Residences are not associated with them in any way, we have worked together to take steps to reduce the noise,” they said in the email.
It said that it would refund €216.75 to the students due to the construction “as a gesture of good will”. This would be a one time refund.
Students said had reached the end of their tether with the construction and that it was affecting their studies.
In a statement to TheJournal.ie, a spokesperson for GSA said:
“Although owned by another party we understand Stay City has taken a long lease on the property and commissioned fit out works, for which planning permission was granted after students had moved in.
“Whilst we have no responsibility for, or influence in these works, our team has been working hard on behalf of our residents to act as an intermediary and help tackle the issues raised.
“Following our requests, the contractors have reduced their working hours and Stay City agreed to and attended a Q&A with residents to open up a direct dialogue.
“We pride ourselves on providing optimal living environments for our students and we agree that the noise levels and continued works are disruptive.
Therefore, whilst these issues are not of our causing, as a goodwill gesture we have reduced weekly rates, provided an additional quiet study space at the development for those impacted and offered transfers to another one of our residences in Dublin.