I just wanted to make others aware of the on-campus student villages in the University of Limerick and the return of student deposits as its that time of the year again. Last year (2010/2011) I was staying in Dromroe and at the end of the year each of us had approximately €140 deducted from our deposits (so €140 x 6 students = €840).
I requested a breakdown of this (it included dry cleaning of curtains, washing windows, repainting apartment, servicing of breakdown to lift, cleaning extractor fan, missing Fire blanket) and I then spoke to someone from www.threshold.ie who advised me that most of these deductions were illegal.
Myself and my housemate informed the village manager who assured both of us that the deductions were correct. He also said that he confirmed the deductions with another village manager and this manager also agreed with him.
2 quotes from emails:
"I am sure that these charges are correct as I looked at each individual apartment myself."
"All of the charges are correct. The previous manager, [name here], took a look at them as well and passed them"
Threshold advised me to open a dispute with PRTB.ie (cost €25 divided between 6 people so €4.25 each) in order to get some of our deposits refunded. AFAIK if the PRTB decide in your favour the €25 fee will have to be refunded by CLS.
Prior to opening a PRTB dispute, my housemate emailed the Manager of Campus Life services and they confirmed we should not have been charged for the breakages and cleaning and each of us was refunded €90 (€90 x 6 = €540).
(Part of the unrefunded portion of our deposit was €210 for replacing a missing Fire Blanket (I didn't dispute this as I can't say for certain if it was there when we moved out), though if anyone else is missing one, you can buy many types of fire blankets online for less than €20, so their replacement fee is very excessive)
3 points to note:
1) If 2 Village managers really believed these deductions were legal, I wonder how many other students (CLS have 2,500 student bedrooms) also had these deductions last year and didn't get refunded? And what about previous years?
2) The students union was informed of this by my housemate. IMO if this happened in one of the off-campus student villages, the Students Union would have sent an All-Student email as they've previously done for off-campus accommodation (not sure if relevant but is there a conflict of interest for the student union as the then Student Union President Derek Daly was on the Board of Directors of Campus Life Services)
3) That year I lived with 4 international students, 3 non-european, who had returned to their home countries when their deposits were returned. At the time the deposits were returned these students believed these deductions were normal as the 'accommodation' was owned by the University, so obviously they trusted UL. Also international students are unlikely to know about the PRTB etc and English mightn't be their first language. So does CLS take advantage of this?