Eoin Ó Catháin reviews the weekend story of the Irish J1 students who wrecked a charitable landlady's San Francisco house

Over the weekend, a CBS report from San Francisco told the story of Irish university students who had left their rented accommodation in a state of extreme disrepair.

 

Their landlady, Ritu Vohra, stated on television that she had hoped to give the students a “break” on their rent, as she too had arrived to the United States on a temporary work visa and the Sunset District is the most expensive rent market in the U.S.

 

However, she was horrified when she discovered how the house had been left, with smashed glass, broken appliances, cracked chandeliers, condoms and soiled underwear left behind. A golf club was found on the property, which seems to have caused some of the property damage. The house was not cleaned, and many personal items belonging to the students also remain.

 

The security deposit, Vohra reveals, would barely cover a fraction of the damage caused. She has described the Irish students as having committed an act of “mini-terrorism” against her, and although she bears no ill will against them, she would like the costs to be recurred.

 

Articles on this subject have already caused controversy, as personal details of one of the occupants were clearly displayed on the CBS news report, leading to his identification. One J1er has stated on an online forum that the damage was not incurred by the Irish renters, and that the property was left empty and clean. He also implored the website carrying the article to “delete the post and get your facts right.” This statement has been called into question, however, with posts on his social media sites claiming “over 50” students stayed in the property towards the end of the summer, with another video linked to his account showing a group of students breaking an inside door of a rental property, with damage similar to that seen on the CBS News report.

 

The Irish Consulate in San Francisco has stated that every effort will be made to ensure that the costs incurred will be covered, and has also warned that the offending students may be prevented from entering the United States in future.