UCC Student Union (UCCSU) Welfare Officer has appealed to landlords to show "flexibility and leniency" to students when drawing up rental agreements for the upcoming academic year.
In an open letter to the Heads of Colleges at UCC, landlords and students, Jamie Fraser called on landlords to show "understanding and compassion" to students looking to rent rooms in their properties at this "tumultuous time".
"I ask that you show flexibility and leniency to students when drawing up rental agreements for the upcoming academic year," he said.
In the letter, Mr Fraser advised students not to commit to long-term leases until they know how many hours they will spend on-campus each week.
The forthcoming academic year will be a hybrid learning experience for students, incorporating both online and face-to-face elements.
"As your Welfare Officer, I do not feel comfortable advising you, the students, to commit to long-term lease agreements (as I know a lot of you have been pressured to so) due to the unpredictability of the near future, as well as the financial burden that many suffer in these times," he said.
"I understand how frustrated you will inevitably be at being pressured to pay an extraordinary amount of rent if you only have two hours on campus a week.
"Therefore, I once again call upon the various Heads of Colleges to circulate detailed timetables with the exact amount of contact hours specified in order to ease this stress amongst students," he continued.
Mr Fraser acknowledged and thanked the various Heads of Colleges who have been working hard to give students as much clarity as possible regarding the upcoming year but said the delayed release of timetables is something that has added "extreme stress to students".
"Students are dealing with a high level of stress in this climate which is having a direct impact on not just their student experience but their mental health also," he said.
Mr Fraser said students have demonstrated resilience, courage and adaptability during the pandemic, "with many making sacrifices including but not limited to selflessly working on the frontline".
"The least students deserve is the clarity needed to make informed decisions," he added.