NUI Galway Students’ Union is supporting today’s launch of the Student Accommodation Bill campaign by the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
The USI bill, which aims to address the issues that have impacted student tenants during the pandemic, is being supported by Sinn Féin, Social Democrats, Labour Party, Solidarity- PBP/Rise and Independents for Change.
The Bill contains a waiver on rent for students who cannot access their accommodation when expected due to local lockdowns or in the case of changes to college start or finish dates.
Students would also be enabled to end leases and other rental contracts early in the case of another wave or lockdown and landlords would not be allowed to withhold deposits.
The Bill would prevent penalties for early termination of leases and other rental contracts for COVID-related reasons, as well as evictions of students during the pandemic and landlords would be obliged to return prepaid rents in the case of another wave or lockdown.
“NUI Galway students have been hugely impacted this year in so many ways but the stress of paying for accommodation that they sometimes aren’t even using has left many at breaking point,” said Students’ Union President Pádraic Toomey.
“The USI Bill will not fix the student accommodation crisis but it will be a very important step in the right direction.
Students’ Union Vice-President/Education Officer Emma Sweeney added that students were advised to get accommodation by the University and now find themselves paying for rooms that they can ill afford.
“We hope this Bill will go some way towards ensuring students won’t be in this position again,” said Emma.