Government to introduce ban on minimum 51-week student accommodation leases

The decision aims to ensure minimum student lease agreements are confined to the academic year rather than the extended period.

The government has announced it will ban student accommodation providers from enforcing minimum 51-week leases.

The legislative change was introduced by Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris to ensure student lease agreements can be confined to the academic year.

This decision aims to counter current trends of certain student-specific accommodation providers altering the duration of a standard lease, extending the agreement from the duration of an academic year to exclusively 51-week agreements.

The government plans to make these amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act before the summer recess “to ensure the new tenancy protections are in place before the new academic year”.

Expressing his support for the decision, Harris noted that he has been“working closely with the Minister for Housing in recent weeks to find a concrete way to better protect student-specific accommodation leases.

“I am delighted that government is supportive of making legislative changes in this area,” he said.

”While a 51-week lease may suit some third-level students, it is not desirable or affordable for the majority of students, and that is why we are proposing legislative changes to better protect students.”

Harris, who is due to be elected Taoiseach on April 9 following Leo Varadkar’s resignation, emphasised that the legislative changes will ensure that “student specific accommodation lease only covers the standard academic year when it is needed”.

Harris also added that the situation highlights the need to reduce student’s reliance on the private housing sector, and the need for government to build “more college-owned student-specific accommodation.”

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien also voiced his approval: “The Government has supported the bringing forward of necessary legislative changes to better protect students residing in student-specific accommodation.”

“Students nor their parents should be expected to pay for accommodation outside of academic term.”

“Government is committed to making college life as affordable as possible,” O’Brien continued, “My Department will assist in any way it can to protect student renters and help them access the third level course of their choice.”

Several student accommodation providers such as Yugo and Here! and aparto are still only offering 51-week leases.

Many of these providers own student accommodation frequently leased to Trinity students, including Kavanagh Court, leased by Yugo, and Binary Hub, leased by aparto.