'Ridiculous' rules around upfront rent for student accommodation to be changed - Harris


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

10.58 3 Jun 2021


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Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris has said rules around upfront rents for purpose built student accommodation are to be changed.

He said proposals will be brought to Cabinet this month to change the rules, which he branded as 'ridiculous'.

He told Pat Kenny that costs will be coming down.

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"I must say I find it utterly unacceptable that students are asked to pay out many months of rent in advance.

"Myself and the Minister for Housing will be bringing proposals to Cabinet this month to make sure that a student only has to pay one months' rent at a time.

"Not this ridiculous scenario, where for purpose built student accommodation they could be asked to fork out three, four, five months - or their whole year - which can be a huge upfront cost.

"So I'm going to change that, that if you're going to purpose built student accommodation that you'd only have to pay one months' rent.

"I think that's something that might help many families across our country".

It comes as results of the Leaving Certificate will not be available until September 3rd.

This year students can opt to sit the exams, take accredited grades or a combination of both.

'We need to get this right'

Minister Harris said the more important issue is to get it right.

"The worry that I would have as Minister for Further and Higher Education is that if things were rushed, if the quality checks weren't done - or if a Minister ignored the advice of the State Examinations Commission that they need that period of time.

"So what I would say to students is this: we need to get this right, we need one set of results issued.

"One set and only one set - not what happened last year - and I'm working with the colleges now.

"No student will miss out on their start date, no student will miss out on their offer.

"And in fact, this year students will get their results and their offers earlier than they got last year".

And he said the plan is to get students back to on-campus learning.

"We're going to get our students back to campus - we're going to get them back on to college campuses.

"College can't just be about Zoom cameras, and they've had a rotten year this year.

"In a bizarre sort of way, actually being able to stagger the start dates could actually have benefits from a public health point of view.

"So that you maybe bring in the continuing students first, and then there'd be a little gap and then you bring in your first year students."

He said this would likely see second, third and fourth year students go back on the dates "as planned", while first years will return afterwards.

"So no student is going to miss the start of a course", he added.

He added that a plan for re-opening campuses, including the use of rapid antigen testing, will be brought to Cabinet in the next fortnight.

Main image: Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris outside Government Buildings ahead of a Cabinet meeting. Picture by: Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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