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This morning, the Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy, presented amendments to the Residential Tenancies bill, which writes into law that students in Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) will no longer see hikes of above 4% year on year and will fully be able to avail of RTB protections, starting in July.

Murphy clarified that college owned accommodation would also be covered in the legislation.

 

This has come one year after students protested and highlighted outrageous rent hikes in accommodation near DCU and NUI Galway with the Shanowen Shakedown and Cuirt Shakedown campaigns, and sustained campaigns under the Raise The Roof banner. This amendment now has to go to a report stage in the Dáil and then through the Seanad.

The Union of Students in Ireland and it’s members were commended on the work done thus far on the matter around the table of the Oireachtas Housing Committee. The student movement has been a driving force behind this change, having had representatives on the Oireachtas Housing Committee twice this year.

USI President, Síona Cahill welcomes the news stating;

“Students have been suffering at the hands of rogue landlords and a crushingly expensive rental market from the moment that the housing market began to rise again. It is dispicable that some of the most vulnerable people in society have been taken advantage of to the point where 429 students had declared themselves homeless on the night of the 2016 census, that number does not include the students who are couch surfing with friends or spending 6 hours a day on public transport just to gain an education at third level.

Today however, we cautiously welcome the amendment to the Residential Tenancies Bill which states that students in PBSA will no longer have to endure price hikes of above 4% year on year on year. USI are glad to see that students will be able to avail of all RTB protections from July 1st.

We still have a long way to go until the student accommodation crisis is over once and for all, and the national student movement will continue to fight on this issue.”

During his address, Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy stated;

“We need to be aware of the political force we have unleashed with students because they have asked for something, and they got it.”

 

Given that a number of providers of PBSA refer to students as ‘renting under license’, USI have repeatedly asked for extended tenancy protections to licensees who are effectively in ‘legal limbo’. Currently, there is little legal protection for licensees. For example, they do not have to be registered with the RTB, there are no minimum standards, rent book regulations or minimum notice periods required. According to the RTB, many of these licensees are in fact tenancy agreements and should be treated as such.

USI welcome the legislation, however note with caution that rents have already reached unaffordable heights with most new builds coming onto the market at €230+ per week.

Notes:

  • The Union of Students in Ireland represent over 374,000 students across the island of Ireland
  • USI are members of the National Homeless & Housing Coalition
  • On the night of the 2016 census, students made up over 8% of total homeless numbers (429 students)
  • This amendment to the Residential Tenancies Bill will come into effect on July 1st
  • Last summer increases were made up to:
    • 18% (Galway, affecting NUIG students)
    • 27% (Dublin, affecting DCU students).
    • Students held protests regarding both increases, to which Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, after a summer cabinet meeting a year ago, responded that there would be imminent rent pressure zone legislation to cover student accommodation.
  • For this coming September, news has already leaked of:
    • 20% increase in rents in Menlo Apartments in Galway
    • 10% year on year increase in rent in college owned accommodation in UCC.

Contact:

Aoife Duff

Public Relations & Communication Manager

Union of Students in Ireland

M: 083 881 2270

E: pr@usi.ie

 

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