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College-endorsed student accommodation should issue refunds to tenants – Crowe

FIANNA Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling on privately run third level student accommodation providers to follow the example of some campus accommodation services in issuing refunds to students for this academic year.

As things stand, several providers including City Campus in Limerick and Glasan in Galway have said they will not be issuing refunds to any students who have been unable to be in their tenancies for months due to COVID-19.

While acknowledging that private landlords come under a different remit to campus accommodation, Deputy Crowe believes accommodation services, which are specifically endorsed by their colleges, should not be treated as fully privatised.

“I appreciate that owners of these buildings are being hit by this pandemic but what seems to be forgotten here is that students who struggle as is to make ends meet during their college year are being left out of pocket,” said Deputy Crowe.

“In some cases, they or their parents may have lost employment and the prospect of returning to college could be a far reach.

“I was relieved to see UL’s campus accommodation accede to my requests and roll out refunds but have been disappointed to date with my correspondence from City Campus and Glasan.

“The owners of these properties take in millions in rents over the lifetime of a student’s degree and I don’t believe issuing refunds to those who had to leave early would be out of their reach.

“Both of these examples have been advertised as options on the websites of the colleges they serve and are therefore endorsed by these institutions.

“I don’t see why, in this case, they are treated differently to campus accommodation and I would call on them to reconsider their decisions as a matter of priority.”

About Owen Ryan

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Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.