Students Must be Refunded Pre-Paid Accommodation Costs

Students who have paid up front for accommodation, which they cannot now access because of COVID-19, need to be refunded.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been contacted by many students across Mayo who have paid rent for accommodation, including gas and electricity, who now find they have paid for something they are denied.  Many of these students have lost their part-time jobs and in many cases their parents have lost their jobs too.  They need this money.  

It is imperative that all student accommodation providers, both public and private should provide these students and their families with refunds.  We need a uniform approach to be adopted by providers in terms of granting refunds to students who left accommodation early due to COVID 19.

It is important for students in purpose-built accommodation to know that their licences are covered under the Residential Tenancies Act.  Where landlords are denying refunds of pre-paid rent or deposits beyond the required notice period they should make formal complaints to the Residential Tenancies Board.

My colleague, Sinn Fein Housing Spokesperson Deputy Eoin O’Broin, is in touch with USI and the Irish Universities Association on this issue and has requested that the Ministers for Housing and Education make a clear statement calling for full refunds from all student accommodation providers.

Threshold Guidelines:

“Where you wish to end your tenancy you must give notice of termination in writing. (Email, text or verbal notice is not valid under the law). The amount of notice you are required to give depends on how long you have been in your tenancy. The normal notice periods are:”

Duration of Tenancy Notice Period
 Less than 6 months 28 days
Not less than 6 months but less than 1 year 35 days
More than 1 year but less than 2  years 42 days
More than 2 years but less than 4 years 56 days
More than 4 years but less than 8 years 84 days
8 years or more 112 days