Student receives rent refund after breach in agreement

By Seoirse Mulgrew

A Threshold advisor has assisted a student in receiving a €6,000 refund from her purpose-built student accommodation as a result of a breach in agreement.

Threshold housing advisor Graham Martin, based on Eyre Square, said that the student came to the organisation because she hadn’t been able to occupy the student accommodation where she had already paid the full fee and deposit.

She was unable to travel to the accommodation because of Level 5 restrictions.

“Her attempts to gain a full refund had not been successful. It was a license agreement and the accommodation provider had advised her that the only way that she could terminate the agreement was to find a replacement.”

“It was a luxury student accommodation and a lot of the communal services had been withdrawn, so it wasn’t as attractive of an offer for people to take for the price they would have to pay,” he said.

Mr Martin said that where there is a perceived breach of any agreement, either party can challenge it.

“What made this particular case a better chance of success is that in the contract they had some of the licensee’s rights enshrined in it. In particular certain services that were licensee’s rights and those had been suspended.”

“It was not any parties fault but there was an additional clause, a force majeure clause which allowed for termination of the license by either party if one of the parties couldn’t fulfil their obligations for a period of time. You have a service that a landlord is providing and whenever there is a dilution of that then you may have chance of saying there has been a breach,” he said.

Mr Martin said the landlord did an internal review and decided that they would issue a full refund.

“€6,000 made a big difference to her. There are many students out there who won’t see any money back. It’s very important that students get advice as soon as they can,” he said.

Western Region Services Manager of Threshold, Karina Timothy, explained the importance in noting the terms of the lease.

“We firstly look at the terms of the lease. If the lease is very clear that it is for a fixed term and there’s no break clause in that then essentially, you’re bound by the lease. In Graham’s case there were other factors which enabled the return of the rent paid and the deposit,” she said.

Threshold’s Galway Advice Centre

Threshold is a charity for people with housing problems and those at risk of homelessness. They offer advice for residential tenants and licensees but also for people who are finding it difficult to find alternative accommodation.

The Galway office is located at 5 Prospect Hill, Galway.

What to do if you need advice

If you need advice or want to talk directly to an advisor, contact your nearest office in Cork, Dublin or Galway or visit their website.

For more Galway Pulse stories click here.

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