Legislation to give greater protections for student renters


TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has recently called on the government to support Sinn Féin’s legislation to give greater protections and ensure better affordability for student renters.

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2024 will be debated at second stage in the Dáil this week. It deals with so-called ‘digs’ accommodation, which is where a student rents a room in which the homeowner also resides as part of the ‘Rent a Room’ scheme.

Despite this state scheme providing tax relief of up to €14,000 a year under this scheme to the homeowner, there are no obligations to give even basic protections to those renting the room. This is an area which has been described as the ‘Wild West’ of the rental sector and identified as in need of reform.

Teachta Crowe said “Students living in ‘digs’ accommodation under the ‘Rent a Room’ scheme lack the most basic of protections that are afforded to other renters. It has been described as the ‘Wild West’ of the rental sector, with Threshold pointing out that those renting such rooms have ‘effectively have no rights’.

“Under the current legislation, students have:

  • No right to a rent book, or a notice period meaning the student can be evicted overnight.
  • No rights to privacy such as a lock on the bedroom door which is a real concern for young women.
  • No rights to reasonable use of facilities like the kitchen and bathroom.
  • No access to the rent pressure zones, or prevention of the rent being increased overnight without notice.
  • No access for either party (student or homeowner) to the RTB for dispute resolution.

“Not only would this Sinn Féin legislation give protections for student renters which have badly been lacking, but it also gives protections to the homeowners themselves.

“Just as it creates greater obligations on the homeowners, it also creates obligations on the student renters ensuring that they pay their rent on time and in full, that they do not engage in anti-social behaviour or damage the property.

“This Bill gives greater protection, certainty, and support for both parties to these housing arrangements.

“The cost to the Exchequer in 2018, which is the latest year available, of this tax expenditure was around €20m. The cost is likely to have increased since then due to the growing popularity of the scheme. “It is only fair that this tax subsidy comes with some protections for those students renting the rooms.

“Sinn Féin would stand up for student renters in government, and this Bill is just one element of our plan for addressing the student housing crisis.” 

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Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at info@newsgroup.ie.



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