Housing Hand launches in Ireland as the next step in its expansion strategy
- Housing Hand is the only rent guarantor service in Ireland
- International student numbers in Ireland up 45% between 2013 and 2017 (European Migration Network)
- Irish base positions Housing Hand for future expansion into Europe
The challenge of having to stump up 6 to 12 months’ rent in advance when you don’t meet strict letting criteria affects renters around the world. That’s why trusted rent guarantor service Housing Hand is officially launching in Ireland. Following a soft launch in the Emerald Isle last year, the company has named Ireland as the first step in its strategy to expand across Europe and beyond.
The demand for Housing Hand’s service following the soft launch contributed significantly to the official launch of the first full Irish service. Purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) is growing in popularity in Ireland, but the fact that students sign licences instead of leases means that rents can rise dramatically. While leases are capped at increases of 4%, no such protection currently exists in the purpose-built student accommodation sector (though future changes to the Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill will cover those living in PBSA developments).
“We’ve spent the last year establishing partnerships in Ireland and working with local accommodation providers to put the structure in place for delivering our rent guarantor service in major urban areas across the country. Now, we are delighted that Housing Hand is officially launching in Ireland, with a brand new Irish website to boot, ensuring that international students and working professionals can enjoy fairer access to purpose-built and other types of student accommodation there.”
Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand
Dublin is very much the core of Ireland’s academic offering. The city accounts for 43% of the country’s total student population, with some 183,475 young people studying there. However, existing PBSA schemes only cater to 13.2% of the student body.
Thankfully, the 2017 National Student Accommodation Strategy is seeking to address this, with a target of constructing at least 16,374 additional PBSA bed spaces by 2024 (taking the total in Dublin to 28,806). Some 6,180 of these were already under construction by mid-2018, according to Cushman & Wakefield, although the Union of Students in Ireland argues that the rate of development is still insufficient to meet current demand, let alone future requirements. That body estimates that the shortfall stands at 16,000 PBSA bed spaces as at 2019.
While developers race to cater to the growing demand for PBSA bed spaces, Housing Hand is supporting both them and the international students who need to access them. With neither a local credit history nor access to a guarantor with a local credit history, demands to pay as much as a year’s rent in advance are not uncommon. Understandably, having to find upfront rent payments of 50-100% of a year’s accommodation is a huge barrier to studying in Ireland.
The European Migration Network highlights how significantly demand for Irish higher education has surged and what a problem it is for those coming from overseas to study in Ireland to find affordable accommodation. It reports that the number of international students heading to Ireland rose by 45% between 2013 and 2017, with residence permits increasing from 9,300 in 2013 to 13,500 in 2017.
Part of the surge in Ireland will undoubtedly be due to the Brexit effect, where uncertainty about attending UK higher education establishments for international students means that Ireland is more attractive, as it will remain part of Europe.
The huge jump in demand was one reason that Housing Hand began to establish its presence in Ireland in the first place. It is the only such guarantor service operating there. The company already supports large numbers of students and working professionals to move into private rented accommodation in the UK. To date, Housing Hand has received over 70,000 applicants from 141 countries. The company works with more than 3,000 accommodation providers and has guaranteed rent for thousands of students and working professionals, across both the UK and Ireland. Since its creation in 2013, Housing Hand has covered more than £120 million in rent.
Officially launching in Ireland means that Housing Hand not only cements its position there, but also gains a trading base within the EU, in preparation for the UK’s potential departure from the bloc – whatever form that exit may take. When Brexit occurs, the company will no longer trade as a UK service with a branch in Ireland, but as an Irish service in its own right, with payments taken in euros instead of pounds. The service is currently available to international students studying in Ireland. In future, the intention is to roll it out further to include all students and working professionals living in Ireland.
“Following the success that Housing Hand has achieved in the UK, we are looking forward to working with accommodation providers, students and other tenants across Ireland. A presence in Ireland also means that we are well positioned to deliver services there post-Brexit, as well as in the EU, in line with our expansion strategy.”
Jeremy Robinson, Group Managing Director, Housing Hand
For more information please contact Housing Hand today on +44 (0) 207 205 2625 or visit https://www.housinghand.co.uk/