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High rents a burden for students

rhondathompson, [email protected]

High rents a burden for students

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The Inter-Campus Guild Council (ICGC) of the University of the West Indies is calling for a standard cap on rental units for students attending the Cave Hill campus.
During a Press conference yesterday at the CARICOM Building, president of the Cave Hill Guild, Carl “Alff” Padmore, said some rents were ridiculous, and often landlords faltered on the amenities first, including when the rental contracts were signed.
“Yes, a landlord has the right to take up their rents, we agree . . . it’s their property, but also within that price we need to see the benefits. Free Internet and sometimes all the utilities are supposed to be included, but then students find themselves having to pay them on their own,” Padmore said.
“At Cave Hill, we see it every summer and every semester because a large portion of our non-national intake rents between one mile to six miles out and the rents are ridiculous. Every single semester, our office is bombarded by our students and their parents, and even some lecturers who have to come to the rescue of these students because of the conditions.”
Vice-president of the Cave Hill Guild, Odwin Trenton, speaking after the Press conference, said expensive rents had seen a tripling in welfare cases with students who needed assistance in paying their rent, sometimes tuition, and even buying food.
“In 2009 it was about 20, now it is over 60 students we have on welfare. So we want to put together a team that will review the Rent Act, bring [their plight] to the [attention of] the Attorney General and the Minister of Housing, and hopefully have some common ground met.”
Trenton said some students had even taken leave because of their inability to pay their rents, but noted the registrar and the Office of Student Services had been working to help those who were in their final year complete their studies.
More than 2 000 non-national students attend the Cave Hill Campus, of whom about 1 730 live off campus.
A few months ago, Acting Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said he hoped to table an act in Parliament that would have some control over landlords taking the price of rents too high.
Padmore said they agreed with Stuart’s decision, noting there was a need for an operations manual on housing, especially as the 2011 inter-campus games would be hosted at the UWI.
It is expected that hundreds will be coming from the Mona and St Augustine campuses to attend these games and more accommodation would be needed. (CT)