Fianna Fáil Councillor Orla Leyden is calling on the Government to intervene to support third level students and their families secure student accommodation refunds and rent waivers for April and May from landlords in private and public accommodation in light of the Covid-19 crisis.
Third level institutions closed access to their campuses in the second week in March as part of the national response to Covid-19 and thousands of students left their student accommodation and returned home.
Cllr. Leyden: “Students are doing their best to complete course material online with the prospect of having to sit their exams online at the end of the semester. The worry of student accommodation rent is causing huge stress to students and their families. While third level campuses have closed, most landlords are insisting that accommodation that students no longer require is paid for.
“Many students have lost part-time work that supported them through college and many of their parents are now unemployed. Many students paid up front for accommodation after securing a loan”.
Cllr. Leyden said that some students are getting calls from landlords asking for April and May rent to be paid and their families have no way of paying for it.
“Students have said that it is very disheartening to have to deal with this now. Many students are helping vulnerable family and community members while trying to keep up with college work online. This is a hugely stressful period for everyone”.
Cllr. Leyden: “I have contacted the Minister for Education, Joe McHugh and Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe to ask them to intervene with landlords and support students and their families with student accommodation costs.
“I have asked the Minister for Finance to look at a tax mechanism or other measures to ensure that landlords are in a position to make rent refunds where already paid and waive student accommodation rent for April and May and ensure deposits are returned”.