DCU students speak out over shocking mistreatment by rental company
Students are being left out of pocket and taken advantage of in the latest rental scandal in Dublin.
This one centres around the Hazelwood Apartment Complex in Santry, Dublin 9, which serves as an unofficial student campus for Dublin City University. More specifically, it relates to Academy Walk Management and Lettings Limited, who manage 14 apartments in the gated complex.
Several DCU students are claiming that the company is withholding their deposit money of €500 from them, when they had to pull out last minute despite the company having a long waiting list of interested renters at Hazelwood.
(image via DCU website)
On top of this, there have been numerous reports of mistreatment of students by Academy Walk Management employees, including fines for a scratch on a table, to charging students when a friend sleeps in their room.
Niall Gorman, a student in DCU shared his personal story involving his treatment by staff at the management company.
“Last year for my 18th birthday my mam bought me a bike worth €500 to travel up and down to college in DCU. On my first day with the bike I locked it up on the bike rack in Hazelwood. The next time I came to it the bike was gone. I went into the office and I was told by the head woman that I couldn’t get my bike back and they took it into their possession as it had no Hazelwood tag on it.
I was never told about these tags or seen any information given about these tags as I was ‘supposed to realise’ that I should have went into the office and asked if I needed a tag. They told me that since the bike was in their property then that they owned it and I was told if I complained any further about it that I would be fined. I was completely bullied in the whole situation and made feel like I was in some sort of prison."
We can confirm that Niall never got his property back.
Google reviews of the Hazelwood Apartment Complex for the most part, reflect Nialls complaints. However it is important to note that there are other letting agencies involved in the Hazelwood Apartment Complex that have received high praise from students.
Some online reviews read,
“I wish I could give this a lower rating than 1 star. The worst place I have ever stayed.”
“Extremely rude managers, they treat you as they are doing a favour to you for living there or as they are superior to you. Everything you do is an abusive fine (100,200 or even 300 for stupid things), you can’t receive anyone to visit you at yours. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this place.”
“A hole in the wall in the kitchen that caused a serious draft and my bedroom radiator being terrible and the living area radiators not working all year making winter time in my kitchen hell (we used to tun on the stove for heat). They are a good standard apartment from that…But the management are money hungry. Having visitors is stressful and they made everyone feel so uncomfortable living there all year.”
“Stupid rules and abusive fines. One day they woke me up early in the morning to check if I had any visitor in my bedroom. Oh, and if you lose your keys, it will cost you an 150 euro fine per key.”
We spoke to Cody Byrne, Vice President for Welfare and Equality at DCU, who confirmed that they are dealing with numerous complaints about Academy Walk Management and Lettings Limited.
(Image via dcsu.ie)
He said that he has been in contact with management and is trying to find a solution to these problems. He also said that he was well aware of the reputation of the management company.
"This may be a DCU story, relating specifically to DCU students but this story goes far wider than that. Most of the time it is the parents of students who have to foot the accommodation bill. What we have here are big businesses exploiting families and dominating the economy. Just because it says that you could lose your €500 deposit if you pull out doesn’t make it right, when they have a massive queue of students willing to take these rooms. If this was just an issue over deposits we could handle that, but it stems deeper than that.
People feel like they can take advantage of students because we have an ill-conceived reputation of being drinkers or messers. The value society places on students is so low that business think they can take advantage of us and line their pockets with our cash.”
Accommodation for Irish students in Dublin is at crisis point. The supply of available rooms in the nation’s capital is so low that the Union of Students in Ireland have made a renewed call for people to consider opening their homes to students in a digs style set up.
The Higher Education Authority has estimated that about 25,000 extra beds for students are needed nationally.
We reached out to Academy Walk Management and Lettings Limited on numerous occasions for a right to reply both yesterday and today, and while we spoke to an employee, he told us that he could not put us in contact with 'the powers that be' at this time for a comment.