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Government TDs are being urged to support the student accommodation bill which will be debated in Dáil Eireann on Wednesday (April 28), by the Union of Students in Ireland and Students’ Unions all over Ireland.

The USI’s Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Act 2021 was tabled in late February by Sinn Fein and signed by 56 opposition TDS.

The bill already has the support of all TDs from Sinn Fein, the Labour Party, the Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit and the Independent Group and would grant students much-needed protections.

Now USI is calling on Government TDs to back the bill and support the students in their constituencies and across the country – USI and other student activists have been contacting local TDs seeking their support.

The bill would prevent student accommodation providers from forcing students to pay more than one month’s rent in advance – currently providers are asking for up to a year’s rent in advance, with no opportunity to pay in instalments.  

Students would also be able to exit contracts with 28-days’ notice and access redress for prepaid rent in the event they cannot take up student accommodation due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

This lack of rights has caused huge issues for students during the public health restrictions with students losing thousands of euro in prepaid rent.

USI is calling on Government and all other TDs in the Dáil to support the Bill, bring it to committee stage and act on it urgently.

USI Vice President for Campaigns, Craig McHugh said: “This bill would begin to even the playing field between student renters and renters who hold a traditional lease. For too long students have had sub-par rental rights and the COVID-19 pandemic really brought this home to many. We are hopeful that Government will recognise this tomorrow and indicate their support for the bill.  

“Such support would enable us to continue the really important conversation of addressing the dysfunctional student accommodation market, which mostly consists of luxury accommodation that is completely beyond the reach of the majority of students.”

The Residential Tenancies (Student Rents and Other Protections) (Covid-19) Act 2021 is due to be debated in the Dáil at 10am on Wednesday morning with the vote set to take place next week.

USI is encouraging students and the public to get behind the bill by expressing their support online using the #PassTheUSIBill

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