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New Laws Aim to Prevent Huge Rent Hikes

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

New laws in Dublin are being proposed that could offer students the same protections as privately renting tenants.

Sinn Fein has put forward proposals under The Residential Tenancies Bill that seeks to amend the current law so students living in specific accommodation under a licence agreement are given the full protection of the law.

Following a Higher Education Authority report back in 2015, which suggested Ireland had a serious shortage of student accommodation, thousands of new PBSA units have been built or are under construction.

It is believed that PBSA is not covered under the Residential Tenancies Act and is not included in the jurisdiction of the Residential Tenancies Board. Therefore, students staying in PBSA are not classed as tenants and don't have the same protections.

One example of this is students living in PBSA are not protected by rent control laws which limit rent increase in the capital to 4%.

The issue was raised after a group of DCU students staged protests over plans by Shanowen Student Residences to increase rents by 27% next term.

If the bill is passed, it would ensure students living in accommodation such as this would be classes as tenants and would be granted the same protections as those living in the private rental sector.

Sinn Fein housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin said: "The Bill would also ensure that tenants have access to the RTB (Residential Tenancies Board) dispute resolution process in cases such as deposit retention and maintenance issues."

He added: "In the meantime our Bill seeks to make it clear in legislation that students in student specific accommodation under license agreements can avail of the full protections offered by the Residential Tenancies Acts."

It is hoped the Bill can be debated at the second stage during Private Members Time before the Dail breaks for the summer.