Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien has called on third level universities and institutions to offer partial refunds for accommodation to students.

Most students across the country have vacated their on-campus accommodation and returned home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Deputy O’Brien said: “So far, some Universities have offered refunds to students but not all have done so, and I am calling on the rest to do the right thing here and refund students their money.

“I have submitted an amendment under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest COVID-19 Bill 2020. It outlines how all relevant payments for accommodation provided under section 13(d) of the Planning and Development Housing and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 shall be refunded within three months for the relevant period if the accommodation has been vacated by the licensee due to the suspension of Higher education activity due to Covid-19.”

“This amendment places a statutory obligation on student accommodation provers to refund rent for this term of third level due to Covid-19 closures. Students should not have to pay for a service they do not get.

“I have been contacted by students who have left their accommodation as a result of the COVID-19 crisis which forced the closure of college campuses across the country. Only some Universities and institutions have been offering the partial refunds. In private rented accommodation landlords are refusing to offer students.

“Providers who are holding on to prepaid rents need to do the right thing here,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.