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Laois TD urges cross party support for Bill ‘to protect student renters and their parents’

Brian Stanley on Covid-19
Brian Stanley

Laois TD Brian Stanley has called for cross party support for a Sinn Fein Bill that will come before the Dail on Wednesday.

The party has teamed up with the University of Students of Ireland to draft legislation aimed at providing greater protections for student renters and their parents.

Speaking ahead of the Dail debate, Deputy Stanley outlined the reasons for the Bill.

He said: “The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021, drafted by the USI alongside Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing 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 can cost from on average €5,000 in Galway to an average €9000 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.’’

Deputy Stanley also set out what this Bill aims to do.

He said: “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.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.