Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Students shouldn’t be out of pocket for Covid-related accommodation issues

Pringle: Students shouldn’t be out of pocket for Covid-related accommodation issues

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said student renters must be given protections during uncertain Covid times.

Deputy Pringle said: “Students have endured serious upheaval and confusion, owing to inaction and indecision by Government and institutions alike. They should not be out of pocket for it too.”

The deputy said he was delighted to join the many co-signers in the introduction of the Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Bill 2021. The bill, developed in conjunction with the Union of Students of Ireland, relates to rental obligations and notice periods, and would help students to get refunds from accommodation providers even when accommodation was left or not used due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Deputy Pringle said: “It is a great example of the left working together with civil society groups on an important housing issue.”

He said: “Students have been penalised by the inadequacy of Government action and the lack of planning and decisiveness from many third-level institutions. Be on site for lectures, find a room to rent, move, only to find out that no, your lectures will be remote.

“For many more rural areas, this has been a positive thing, as long as there is an adequate broadband connection to enable students partake in online learning. It means that smaller towns and villages haven’t haemorrhaged as many young people as usual,” he said. The number of students attending Irish universities has risen from 155,000 in 2008 to 213,000 in 2020, according to a recent European Universities Association’s Public Funding Observatory Report, he said.

Deputy Pringle said that in the more than a year since the pandemic crisis began, there have been a number of protections introduced for residents and tenants around the country.

Deputy Pringle said: “A conversation that has been taking place since the beginning of the pandemic is how students and student accommodation will be treated in all this. Many students have licensee agreements in house-shares or rent-a-room options and therefore do not receive the full suite of tenancy protections, or any in some cases.

“This is why I co-signed this bill, it is why I am happy to be supporting the bill and it is why I am urging the Government to accept the bill.”

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