Coronavirus: UCD to extend on-campus leases for students unable to go home

TCD instructs students to vacate college accommodation in bid to curb spread of virus

The University College Dublin campus after courses were shut down due to coronavirus concerns. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The University College Dublin campus after courses were shut down due to coronavirus concerns. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

University College Dublin (UCD) has said it will extend leases for any student living in on-campus accommodation “unable to return to their normal place of residence” in May, due to coronavirus overseas travel restrictions.

The university has also said students living in private rental accommodation outside of the south Dublin campus who lose their housing amid the coronavirus crisis can apply for on-campus accommodation.

In an email to students on Thursday, UCD registrar Prof Mark Rogers said the university “will honour the rental agreements for all students who wish to remain on campus and encourage students to remain resident”.

The decision contrasts with a move by Trinity College Dublin at the start of this week to order all students living in the university’s student accommodation to vacate their rooms.

In an email late on Monday, Trinity College said students had to leave their rooms within 24 hours, with overseas students given two days’ notice to leave their accommodation.

The university said it would make exceptions for students who would face homelessness, were subject to visa or travel restrictions, or had a family member at home with the virus, or one who was immunocompromised.

The university’s initial message also covered two private student accommodation providers the college partners with, Kavanagh Court and Binary Hub.

However, the college later backtracked to clarify as it did not manage that accommodation, the instruction to leave was “strong advice” rather than a “requirement” for students living there.

Trinity College said it had no choice but to attempt to clear its student accommodation due to the spread of the virus, also known as Covid-19.

Online learning

Last week, the Government ordered colleges and schools to close for two weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Following the closure of campuses across the country colleges have switched to online learning.

In the recent email to UCD students, Prof Rogers said students who wanted to leave on-campus accommodation and return home would be refunded the rent they had paid for the remainder of the term.

“Residents who are advised to self-isolate by the HSE will be moved to specific housing to allow them to be supported by the university,” he said.

Students living outside of the campus “who face housing problems because of Covid-19, eg if a landlord requires the property, may now apply for on-campus accommodation,” the email said.

Lease agreements “will be extended should students be unable to return to their normal place of residence at the end of their current agreement due to Covid-19 travel restrictions,” it said.