Students arriving at Tartu for the new academic year are finding it difficult to find accommodation, as dorms and establishments are already packed. The lack of certainty regarding the coronavirus pandemic is making the situation even harder for the students.
University of Tartu (TÜ) dormitories will see 750 new students in the coming academic year, 150 of whom are international students. Foreign students are not being offered rooms with two beds, which further reduces the number of rooms available to them.
Liina Kuusik, accommodation manager at Tartu Üliõpilasküla, says nearly 200 international students will be left out.
Kuusik said: "Close to a fifth of foreign students lives at our establishments. In terms of private accommodation, NGO Tartu välismaalaste teenuskeskus can help students, along with support from the university. Many have found spots in private establishments, such as [hostels] Hugo Stays and Hektoris."
Kejio Voika, sales manager of Hektor Hostel and Hugo Stays, told ERR that they are also running out of rooms, with nearly half of their clients being from abroad.
Voika noted: "Truly, many foreign students have contacted us and many have even missed out because they are not certain in their arrival time or opportunity, even. Whether or not they will actually be able to leave their country, if they've been admitted to the school, what are the requirements for isolation, if they have to be isolated for two weeks - those questions have stopped them from formalizing."
Although the real estate market in Tartu is rich with available apartments, the highest supply since 2015, average prices have not dropped. The increase in stock has mainly been because of apartments intended for tourism, which are now being offered up for long-term rentals.
Tarvo Teslon, portal manager of KV.ee, thinks it is possible to talk prices down currently, however.
Teslon explained: "There are plenty apartments, but there's still hope that some of them are taken at the current high price rates. But I think the situation will improve at the end of the month. If there is still the same number of apartments remaining on the market at August's end, apartments are still available, the owners will start to lower the prices."
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste