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Student renters entitled to refund of accommodation costs under new Bill

25 February, 2021 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD, Rose Conway Walsh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD and spokesperson on Higher Education Rose Conway-Walsh TD have commented on the launch of the Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021.

The Bill has been signed by 56 opposition TDs and was launched with the USI today.

This Bill would help students struggling to get refunds from student accommodation providers for costs paid even though accommodation was vacated or never taken up due to Covid 19 and the associated public health restrictions. 

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021, if passed, will provide greater protection for student renters. Many students and their families faced financial difficulty during the lock downs this past year as they struggled to get refunds for rental costs from student accommodation providers.

“This Bill incorporates key demands from the USI and aims to ensure that students will not be left in this position again. If this Bill becomes law, a student will be able to end a tenancy in student specific accommodation by serving the landlord with a notice of termination of 28 days. It also allows for the prompt refunding of accommodation fees if the accommodation is not taken up or vacated due to Covid 19 related public health restrictions.

“The Bill also recognises that many student accommodation providers look for rent to be paid for a full term in advance. The draft legislation prevents providers of student specific accommodation from charging more than one month’s rent in advance.

“There is strong cross party support in the Dáil for this Bill with 56 other opposition TDs signing up. It is our hope that the government parties can also support the sensible proposals in this Bill and work with us to make it law.“

Teachta Conway-Walsh said:

“The pandemic has exposed the severe economic injustices students face in the rental market. Thousands of students and their families have been forced to pay for accommodation they were prohibited from using.

“It is no longer acceptable for governments to act as spectators while this wholesale financial exploitation of students continues. 

The speedy and successful passing of this legislation is vital to  ensure students of third level institutions are protected. 

“It is incumbent on all Oireachtas members to right the wrong that has facilitated the fleecing of students and their families.”  

The Bill is available to view as a PDF at this link

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