Written answers

Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Department of Education and Skills

Student Accommodation

Photo of Mattie McGrathMattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
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418. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the measures she will introduce to provide protections for third level students in circumstances in which many are expected to pay accommodation deposits and a number of months' rent up front when it is not clear whether they will be attending their colleges for classes in the coming term; if she will ensure that legislative protections are introduced to ensure that those providing student accommodation cannot take advantage of students in view of the current circumstances; if her attention has been drawn to the large demands being placed on students for payments up front despite the fact that many received no refunds for last term; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17127/20]

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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424. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if she has engaged with universities and institutes of technology on rental options for those who will have to split time for remote learning and face-to-face learning; and if she will intervene in the student rental market on costs and guarantees. [17257/20]

Photo of Seán SherlockSeán Sherlock (Cork East, Labour)
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427. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the steps she will take for those students who have already entered into lease agreements with landlords for the 2020-21 academic year; and the position if they are informed that their course material will be delivered remotely and they are no longer in need of the rental accommodation. [17260/20]

Norma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 418, 424 and 427 together.

The national co-ordination group for tertiary education is meeting on a regular basis to consider key issues impacting the tertiary sector, including arrangements for re-opening institutions. These arrangements will be dependent on public health advice, and will be communicated to learners as soon as possible.

Student accommodation license terms including cost, duration, refund and cancellation policies should be set out in the license agreement signed at the beginning of the academic year. While I would hope that accommodation providers would show flexibility to students in the current times, agreements between students and accommodation providers are a private matter, and neither I nor my Department have any remit to issue instructions in relation to the private rental market.

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