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Student Accommodation

Govt to expedite legal change to stop student accommodation providers mandating 51-week leases

Cabinet agreed to amend existing legislation to ensure the mandatory lease period must be confined to the academic year.

GOVERNMENT WILL move to expedite a legal change that will ban the practice of forcing students to take leases longer than their term times. 

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien and Minister for Higher Education Patrick O’Donovan got Cabinet approval to amend existing legislation to ensure the mandatory lease period must be confined to the academic year.

An information campaign will also be rolled out to promote the use of digs, with the Rent-a-Room scheme. 

This scheme allows someone to let out a room in their home to a student and the income received may be exempt from tax.

The income that can be received must not exceed the exemption limit of €14,000.

Today’s move by government comes on the back of outrage from students and universities over some accommodation providers forcing students to switch from the standard 40-week lease to a year-long lease. 

Earlier this year, The Journal reported that some students in Dublin were told they need to pay on average €3,000 more per year for their accommodation. When asked about it at the time,  Simon Harris, who was higher education minister at the time, said he was looking into the claims.

He later said that he believed the actions by these providers are a breach of their planning permission, stating that he would be writing to the relevant councils seeking an urgent assessment of the permissions provided. 

The ban is expected to come into place before the summer recess. 

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