The University of Limerick will partially refund student accommodation fees, following government restrictions limiting on-campus activity for the next fortnight.
The decision was announced on the University’s Campus Life Twitter page, stating that while the accommodation was still open for those who wished to use it, students who decided not to would be refunded for the two week period in which government restrictions applied.
UCD students are also to receive a refund, although the terms of this arrangement seem unequivocal compared to those in UL. UCD SU Welfare Officer Ruairí Power announced last Thursday that the cancellation fee would be waived and that students would only be required to pay for the length of time they actually spent on campus. The decision was made in light of mass concern among students who contacted the SU for more information on whether they would have to pay for accommodation.
This seems to be in contrast with the UL decision, which does not specify what will happen after the next two weeks, should government restrictions be eased. Nor does it mention a waiver of cancellation fees, or take into account that teaching after the next two weeks will at best be blended, and therefore reduce the necessity for on-campus living spaces.
Uncertainty still exists among student renters who do not reside in university-owned accommodation. The ban on eviction notices and rent increases was lifted on 1 August, meaning students will still be among those vulnerable to Dublin’s notoriously expensive housing market if residing here for the academic term. So far there have been no protections announced for student renters outside of university accommodation.
Additionally, the unique living situations of students complicate matters further: “I’d love to move back home,” one student told us, “but I’m subletting from another guy for the academic year.” The student elaborated that “nothing is on paper”, leaving her with no tenancy rights, and no escape from paying rent in Dublin.
Rosie Roberts Kuntz – Assistant News Editor