Parents force to pay huge rents
The huge cost on parents in Laois of sending their children to third level can be lessened if colleges and providers of student-specific accommodation were prevented from charging one month's deposit in advance according to Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.
The Laois/Offaly poll topper says his party has worked with student representatives to come up with a way that would prevent providers from hitting parents with the charge at the start of the academic year. He says there it is also a measure aimed to force landlords to pay refunds in extreme circumstances such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dep Stanley has urged cross-party support for the Union of Students in Ireland backed Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021. He claimed it will provide greatly improved protections for student renters and their parents.
“Many students renting student accommodation currently pay a term in advance, which usually runs from September to May, and can cost from on average €5,000 in Galway to an average €9,000 for UCD per year. Students and their parents paying for this accommodation are generally from outside Dublin or Galway and from counties like Laois and Offaly with no universities and in many cases, parents are paying costs for more than one student at a time. This is a huge outlay for many families, especially middle-income households who cannot access SUSI grants,"
“The bill would prevent providers of student-specific accommodation from charging more than one month’s rent in advance.’’
Crucially, the bill also addresses concerns raised by the USI about students and their parents not being able to access refunds when they had to leave, or could not take up, student accommodation due to Covid-19 restrictions. This was a real problem for people in this constituency who are attending Waterford Institute of Technology & University of Limerick. I have made representations on many of these cases’’
“In the past year, many students have found themselves unable to access their accommodation due to public health measures, and were denied rent refunds for unused accommodation. This bill allows for the prompt refunds in such instances. This bill would also enable a student to end a tenancy in student-specific accommodation by serving the landlord with a notice of termination of 28 days.
“I call on all TDs to support this bill to provide students, and their parents, the protections they require.”
Dep Stanley says the measures in the bill were drafted by the USI alongside Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin and spokesperson on Higher Education Rose Conway-Walsh. He added that 56 opposition TDs support it. The motion will be heard in the Dáil on Wednesday, April 28.