Sinn Féin’s education spokesperson, Deputy Seán Crowe, has criticised third level institutions and landlords of purpose-built accommodation for charging students three months' rent in addition to a deposit at the start of the first college term.
Deputy Crowe was speaking after being contacted by a number of irate parents who are struggling to meet an initial payment of €2,500 or more at the start of the first college term, to cover their children’s rent and deposit fees.
Deputy Crowe said: “In these difficult times more families are struggling to make ends meet. It is unfair that many third level institutions and landlords charge students three months’ rent to cover the first college term. This is on top of the deposit and is hard to justify, particularly at a time when college fees are rising.
“This excessive fee is putting a huge strain on many low and middle income earning families. It is an issue that education minister Rúairi Quinn must address.
“Additionally, many landlords refuse to return the deposits of student tenants. Recent research by the USI found that without any justification, 40% of students had their deposit withheld and over 60% have had over €200 unfairly taken off their deposit.
“The deposit paid to cover potential damage to student accommodation is usually over the top anyway. In respect of campus accommodation, college authorities have many other ways of dealing with vandalism, including expelling students if they are found to have behaved inappropriately.
“This excessive charge on students seeking rental accommodation must be brought to an end as it is creating yet another barrier to low and middle income families accessing to third level education.” ENDS