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Student Accommodation

Government aims to enact ban on 51-week student leases in time for upcoming academic year

The Bill will ensure students are only required to pay for student specific accommodation for the duration of the academic year.

THE GOVERNMENT IS aiming to enact a Bill that would ban 51-week student leases in time for the Dáil summer recess.

This would mean that the legislation is in place for the upcoming academic year which starts in September.

The typical academic year lasts around 35 weeks and runs from September to May.

However, some student accommodation providers enforce minimum 51-week leases which results in students paying rent over the summer months even if they are not there.

In February, The Journal reported that some students in Dublin were told they need to pay on average €3,000 more per year for their accommodation because private accommodation providers were extending their leases beyond term time.

Speaking to The Journal at the time, then Higher Education Minister and current Taoiseach Simon Harris said it was something he felt “very strongly about” and committed to amending legislation to crack down on the practice.

He added that it highlighted the need to “build our own student accommodation” rather than being reliant on the private market.

When approached for an update by The Journal last week, Harris remarked that the legislation is a “priority” for Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and current Higher Education Minister Patrick O’Donovan.

Ministers O’Brien and O’Donovan will today bring a memo to Cabinet to expedite the legal change and ensure students are only required to pay for student specific accommodation for the duration of the academic year.

The aim is to have the Bill passed by both Houses before the summer recess, which will require the cooperation of the opposition.

A previous memo was brought to Cabinet last month to provide an update on the process and “to examine the options” related to the issue.

-With additional reporting from Jane Matthews

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