Pre-paid rents must be returned to students who have left accommodation – Smith

Dept eCorrespondence Brendan Smith TD

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has called on Universities and private student accommodation providers to do the right thing and refund rent to students who had to leave accommodation early due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Deputy Smith said, “It’s unfair to expect students who have returned home to continue paying rents. Many of them have lost their part-time jobs in hotels or restaurants and are already at a financial disadvantage.

“In response to my representations the Minister of State for Higher Education has said “the majority of students in university-owned accommodation will receive pro-rata refunds if they have vacated their accommodation”. While this is welcome it does suggest that not all Universities will act this way which is worrying.

“More often than not students pay by semester for their accommodation on University campuses and in many instances, there are many other bills built into the cost of the accommodation such as bin charges, WiFi, and gas and electricity bills.

“Allowing students to claim back their deposits early is not enough, in fact it’s a pretence, students would be due those deposits anyway at the end of the semester.

“When this crisis passes those who did not refund students will be remembered. Many students have lost their part time jobs due to the public health emergency. To take advantage of this crisis and not be forthcoming with refunds is deplorable. Private student accommodation providers and Universities need to step up and refund students,” concluded Deputy Smith.