Minister’s hand off approach to student housing crisis must be condemned

Senator Annie Hoey image
16 February 2024

Labour’s Further and Higher education Spokesperson Senator Annie Hoey has expressed deep concern that private student landlords are planning to extend lease lengths and the Minister for Further and Higher Education is failing to protect students and tackle the issue.

Senator Hoey said:

“Students across the country are facing an unprecedented crisis in securing adequate housing. It is unconscionable that student accommodation providers are exploiting vulnerable students by compelling them to sign leases for 51 weeks, a duration exceeding the requirements.

“Following answers I have received to parliamentary questions submitted to the Department of Further and Higher Education, it is clear that Minister Harris is not overly concerned with the issue.

“Despite these unjust lease extensions, it is imperative for students to be aware that Residential Tenancies Board rules still apply. However, it is regrettable that it has come to this point where students must navigate legalities to reclaim their rights.

“Labour has been consistently calling on the Government to take decisive action to alleviate the growing student housing crisis. We have proposed a dedicated package of €100 million in the Budget, to be invested annually in public student accommodation. The Minister’s hands-off approach is not only disappointing but also unacceptable in the face of such urgent need.

“We urge the Minister for Further and Higher Education to immediately intervene in this matter. Students should not have to suffer the consequences of inadequate housing policies. It is time for the government to prioritise the well-being and future of our students by taking concrete action to address this crisis.”

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