In a development of interest to those owning and managing student accommodation, the Irish Government has recently announced its intention to introduce legislative changes aimed at “protecting” students from year-long leases.

Background to the announcement

The announcement was made by Simon Harris TD, then Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, and Darragh O’Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage. They expressed the Government’s support for legislative amendments that would ensure student accommodation leases / licences align with the academic calendar.

This decision was prompted by concerns over situations where students had been required to take 51-week leases / licences. It is the view of Government that such long-term commitments are neither affordable nor practical for the majority of students, leading to a call for change.

Implications of the proposed changes

It is anticipated that the proposed changes will confine student-specific accommodation leases / licences to the duration of the academic year, or at least prevent providers from requiring a minimum 51-week lease where that is in excess of the particular student’s requirements.

The requisite amendments to the Residential Tenancies Acts are scheduled to be brought in before the summer recess, with the aim of having them in place for the upcoming academic year. The draft legislation has yet to be published and there is no definite timetable for its enactment. However it must be assumed that, as this initiative is sponsored by our now Taoiseach and is likely to have cross-party support, it will become law in advance of the next academic year as intended.

As the Government has yet to publish a draft of the relevant legislation, it is not possible at this point to provide any further detail regarding how the proposal will operate in practice. We will, however, provide further updates in due course.

For more information in the meantime, please contact Aoife Smyth, Knowledge Consultant, or any member of ALG’s Real Estate team.