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The Union of Students in Ireland welcomes the decision by cabinet to act on the USI’s Student Accommodation Bill and stop landlords forcing students to pay numerous months’ rent in advance to secure accommodation.

The move this morning (Wednesday) comes on the back of significant campaigning by USI, Students’ Unions and students across Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cabinet also agreed to restrict the notice period students would have to give to exit rental contracts to 28 days, in line with the USI bill.

This had been a particular issue for students during the pandemic when they had to leave, or did not require, student accommodation as public health measures were rolled out.

The bill was tabled by Sinn Fein on behalf of USI and signed by 56 opposition TDs who along with student representatives, lobbied Government to pass the bill.

USI President, Lorna Fitzpatrick said: “Up to now, students have been expected to pay three, six and nine months in advance for student accommodation. Many students have to work while in college to pay their rent and just don’t have access to this kind of money up front, meaning they miss out on securing student accommodation. We welcome this agreement today – these two decisions will help level the playing field a bit, but there is a lot more to do. Student accommodation is still much too expensive and is a huge burden on many students. It also needs to be ensured that being able to pay up front does not give one student a preference over another. Accommodation should be allocated in a fair way – be that on need, or on a first-come basis – and not based on how many months rent you can hand over up front.”