By Suzanne Pender
SINN Féin TD for Carlow Kilkenny Kathleen Funchion has urged cross-party support for the USI calls to provide greater protections for student renters, particularly those attending IT Carlow.
The motion will be heard in the Dáil on Wednesday.
Speaking today, deputy Funchion said the Residential Tenancies (student rents and other protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021, drafted by the USI alongside Sinn Féin housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin and spokesperson on higher education Rose Conway-Walsh, will provide greatly improved protections for student renters and their parents. The bill has been signed by 56 opposition TDs.
“Many students renting student accommodation currently pay a term in advance, which usually runs from September to May, and the cost of this varies greatly from county to county,” said deputy Funchion.
“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,” she said.
“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.
“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 prompt refunds in such instances,” said deputy Funchion.
“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,” said deputy Funchion.