Cavan Monaghan Sinn Féin TD, Matt Carthy, has called for government intervention to ensure that students who have left rented accommodation due to the Covid-19 emergency receive refunds from the landlords in respect of time not spent in that accommodation. Deputy Carthy was echoing the call of his party’s Housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin, that all landlords, private and university, refund students who have had to end their licences early.
Deputy Carthy said: “I received a copy of a letter received by a constituent of mine from her landlord. This student has an underlying medical condition which means that she has been self-isolating at her home in Monaghan since February. Her family are in financial distress and they desperately need a return of the €860 per month rent (for a box room in shared house) that they have paid in advance and the €1,100 deposit that was laid down.
“The landlord’s response was that no leeway would be provided because they had obligations to Revenue and the banks. Clearly, there is no liability to revenue on rents not paid and the banks are on the record as stating that they will provide flexibility and supports. If this is not happening, then the landlord should take this up with the government – not penalise hard-pressed students and their families.
“This is one of dozens of similar cases that has been brought to my attention where students have been refused rent refunds by private landlords and university accommodation.
“At this time almost every family in the country has taking a financial hit as a result of the Coronavirus emergency. Parents of students cannot afford to pay for accommodation that is not being used.
“I have written to the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, asking him to clarify what measures he is proposing to support these students. In the first instance all landlords, private and university, should heed the call of Eoin O’Broin and refund rents and deposits to students who have vacated their properties”.
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