Students who have had to leave campus accommodation early due to the COVID-19 pandemic must be refunded rent, claims Norma Foley TD.
She said that universities and large private accommodation operators differ hugely in their approach to handling the issue of student accommodation refunds. It is interesting to note UCC students are in the fortunate position to have confirmation that they will receive a pro rata refund of their accommodation fees whilst UL, on the other hand, are offering no reimbursement to students. Likewise, some large private accommodation providers have also refused to offer a partial refund of fees paid.
“This is wholly unacceptable,” Deputy Foley said. “Given the unprecedented times in which we live, I believe, accommodation providers should take a coordinated approach which both recognises and facilitates the financial challenges being faced by families. If students are not availing of accommodation they should not be charged for it. Monies paid should be refunded or, at the very least, a credit for unused accommodation should be offered for the next semester if applicable.”
Deputy Foley also called for an immediate refund of deposits and unused utility fees upon vacating accommodation.
“Students and their families deserve better.”