Lowry Appeals for Fairness for Students on Accommodation Costs

Deputy Michael Lowry has again appealed to universities, colleges and private landlords who have failed to cancel or refund rents to students to review their stance on this issue.

Thousands of students are no longer using student accommodation due to the current Covid-19 crisis, but are caught up in private lease agreements or have paid their rent in advance for on-campus accommodation. ‘Despite numerous pleas and calls since universities and colleges closed to refund this money or cancel obligations under the terms of a lease, some educational establishments and landlords have opted not to do so. This is grossly unfair and very stressful for students and, in many cases, their parents, who cannot afford to lose this money at such a difficult time’ says Deputy Lowry.

Deputy Lowry is particularly critical of the providers of large scale on-campus student accommodation, where students can be obliged to pay in advance for their rooms. ‘These students paid their rent in good faith and did not choose to leave on a whim. Circumstances determined that they vacate their accommodation, and this should be taken into consideration in the essence of fairness’ says the Deputy.

Deputy Lowry says that there have also been reports of students being asked to find new tenants for their privately rented houses or apartments by landlords who are refusing to break the terms of their lease. ‘Many of these students have lost their part-time jobs, either because they have had to return home or because their jobs no longer exist. They are no longer able to pay rent on a property they cannot use and do not need through no fault of their own’ he says.

‘The Covid-19 crisis has led to hardship for many people’, says the Deputy, ‘but understanding of the situation has prompted a positive response in most cases. I am calling on these universities, colleges and private landlords to show such understanding to their student tenants at this difficult time’

Deputy Lowry also feels that Examination Fees for the Leaving Cert class of 2020 should be waived. Currently students pay €116 on average to sit the Leaving Cert and the deadline for payment of this fee is April 30th. ‘Under the unique and unprecedented circumstances of this years exams and the current financial difficulties being experienced by families, I feel this is the fairest and most just approach’ he says.

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