When renting accommodation for the academic year, it is essential to find the right place for the right price. Here’s a list of things you should check before you sign that lease…
- Is the rental property close to college or on a convenient transport route? Is the property secure and in a safe location?
- What is included in the rent – and what is excluded? Who pays for the heating, electricity, bin charges, TV cable? You must consider any extras in your budget.
- Does the accommodation meet with the minimum legal requirements? For example in the Kitchen, is there a four ring hob with grill and oven, a fridge and freezer, microwave and washing machine. Do they all work?
- Sanitary facilities; is there a self-contained toilet with hot and cold water and a fixed bath or shower?
- Is the heating adequate? Is there any sign of dampness in the property? Are there smoke alarms?
- Know who you’re living with because if they don’t pay their rent, leave unpaid bills or damage the property you could all be held jointly responsible.
- Don’t sign a 12 month lease if you’re only staying for the 9 month academic year…you could end up paying the extra or losing your Deposit.
- Is the tenancy registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board? Experience shows that good landlords will always abide by the law.
- What is your landlord’s name, address and phone number? It’s very important to have this information if things go wrong – and you are entitled to get it…
- Take an inventory of the contents and furniture on arrival; note any damage, things that don’t work and breakages. Photos are also useful. Get your landlord to sign the inventory along with you.
- Get a receipt! Make sure you have a record (i) of your Deposit and (ii) of every Rent Payment. Renting is a business arrangement – treat it like one.
- Don’t engage in anti-social behaviour… parties can get out of hand and it could end up costing you a lot of money. ..
- If you’ve paid your rent, given notice, haven’t damaged the property, and paid the bills then you’re entitled to your deposit back… just remember to go through your inventory again before you leave, preferably with your landlord, and take more photos. They may be necessary as evidence in a Dispute.
Renting Problem? Who can help?
- The Student Union Accommodation Officers
- Threshold offers free advice to tenants
- The Money and Budgeting Advice Service provides money advice
- Private Residential Tenancies Board – You can take a case to the PRTB for €25
Need more information on your Rights and Responsibilities? www.prtb.ie
Make sure you pick up your copy of the Guide to Student Life in NUI Galway Students’ Union.