By Joe Barrett
According to Laois TD Brian Stanley students from Laois in 3rd level education in Galway have to pay on average €5,000 in one instalment in rental accommodation and €9,000 at UCD.
He raised the plight of students in rental accommodation in the Dáil when he spoke on his party’s Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021.
Deputy Stanley said: “Sinn Féin’s legislation will deal with a problem that has caused unfair stress and significant financial hardship to many families across Laois and Offaly.
Recent reports estimate that there are 3,019 students in Laois in 3rd level education and 2,984 in Offaly, many of these students have to secure rental accommodation in Limerick, Galway and Dublin as there is no 3rd level college in Laois or Offaly.
“Under current legislation, student accommodation is treated differently to all other rental accommodation, as landlords are permitted to charge students more than one month’s rent in advance, sometimes three or four month’s rent in one go.’’
“This means students from Laois and Offaly who attend Galway have to pay on average €5,000 in one instalment and €9,000 at UCD. Some families may even have more than one child attending college at the same time.”
Deputy Stanley said: “This is a huge outlay for many families especially those households who cannot access SUSI grants. These families are trying to pay mortgages, most likely have cars for their own work and other substantial outgoings.
Many students paid their rent in lump sums prior to the Covid outbreak last year and many were never compensated when they returned to their parent’s homes under national health guidelines. This is very unfair.’’
“This Bill, supported by the Union of Students in Ireland, will give greater protection to student renters and ensure that in future, refunds will be provided where accommodation is unusable due to public health restrictions.
“It will prevent landlords from charging students more than one month’s rent in advance and it will ensure students renters are treated in the same way as all other renters.”