Student accommodation crisis is leading to the exploitation of international students – Irish Council for International students calls for immediate action from Government

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Overcrowding, high rents, poor quality accommodation and lack of properties available to rent among major issues affecting international students in Ireland

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) is calling for immediate action to be taken on the student accommodation crisis, as many students face homelessness when they come to study in Ireland.

ICOS worked with RTÉ to uncover recent issues of overcrowding and substandard accommodation in Dublin, as aired on Morning Ireland today (02.06.2022). ICOS has assisted students in recent weeks to inform them of their rights and assist with making complaints to Dublin City Council on overcrowding and to the Residential Tenancies Board on rogue landlords.

ICOS Executive Director, Laura Harmon, said:

"International students are more vulnerable when it comes to accommodation as they often arrive in Ireland with little knowledge of the rental market landscape, meaning they run a higher risk of being scammed or exploited. Rising rents and a lack of available properties to rent forces many students to live in overcrowded accommodation. We urgently need a review and overhaul of current legislation on overcrowding, which dates from 1966 and is no longer fit for purpose. The accommodation crisis is also having an impact on Ireland’s reputation abroad as a study destination. This could have serious ramifications for Ireland’s education sector as a whole.’’

The current legislation on overcrowding in accommodation dates back to 1966 and is clearly not fit for purpose. An Overcrowded Housing Bill was put forward in 2018, but that Bill fell with the last Dáil.  ICOS is calling on Government to take urgent action on this issue to protect students from being further exploited.


Notes to editor:

  • According to Eurostat statistics, Ireland has one of the lowest rates of overcrowding in Europe, yet due to the current housing crisis, many international students are forced to live in hugely overcrowded conditions.
  • Almost half of all English language students that took part in an ICOS survey at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic said they were sharing a room with three or more people.
  • That research also found that 11 per cent of these students were sharing a room with six or more other people, while only 10 per cent had their own room.
  • ICOS is available to contact for any international students who need assistance in making a complaint about accommodation:

About ICOS

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) is an independent advocacy organisation whose mission is to protect the rights of international students, and to contribute to a vibrant international education sector in Ireland which has the quality of the student experience at its centre.  ICOS has 26 institutional members, including all nine universities in the Republic of Ireland, and many of the Institutes of Technology and independent third level colleges. Our membership also includes the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). ICOS’ values include: consultation, collaboration, learning, and accountability, and our goals are to influence policy and standards in international education; build the capacity of our members; empower international students to pursue their rights; and support and showcase the important contribution of international education to international development.

For media comment please contact ICOS Executive Director, Laura Harmon, on Ph: 0861738455 Email:

News type
ICOS Press Release