University College Cork (UCC) Students’ Union has confirmed that an agreement has been reached to issue students who wish to return home from their rented accommodation with a refund.
Following a meeting with UCC Campus Accommodation, the union posted the update on social media.
“Following our meeting with UCC Campus Accommodation, an agreement has been reached to issue a rent refund to any student that chooses to return home.
“Given the lack of on-campus lectures and general uncertainty, we‘re pleased to see this decision go through,” the post read.
Speaking to The Echo on the issue, second year University College Cork (UCC) student Maeve Richardson said that it was a brilliant outcome but raised concerns for those renting privately off campus.
“I think it’s brilliant, I think it shows that the student union has leverage, especially since the Occupy the Quad movement. It shows the union has the power and that UCC has a bit of cop on, to put it lightly,” she said.
She said that the agreement between UCC Students’ Union and UCC Accommodation did not take as long as she first thought it would.
“I thought this would be going on for months,” she said.
She said that the union is now seeking a meeting with Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to push for emergency legislation requiring private landlords to refund students also which she said is something she “doesn’t really see happening”.
“I think Fine Gael and Fine Fáil feel a duty to protect the rental market because I think it would be really hit if the money was all refunded.” She said that receiving full refunds from private landlords will be on a case by case basis and will depend on whether people have “a nightmare landlord or a nice landlord”.
“A lot of the international students won’t have a choice because to study a course in Ireland, if you’re an international student you have to be in the country even if it's online so a lot won't have a choice but to stay now.
“It’s just been a very confusing year for us and we feel like we’ve been played a lot. It seems as if the Government wanted us to move for economical reasons, which is understandable, but we were getting completely screwed by moving down [to university] and then being told we were moving to be completely online.
“There’s more housing than there's ever been in Cork, I have never seen so many rooms available but there’s just no drop in the rental market and I think this is the time to really educate ourselves on what landlords can and can't do and make sure you're registered with the RTB,” she said.