Every year students across Galway embark on the tedious, stressful and all-consuming task of finding a place to live for the semester. While summer is supposed to be stress-free and fun, a number of students are set to spend the three months scrolling through the likes of daft.ie and rent.ie and checking newspaper advertisements daily, all in the hope of finding some sort of accommodation. And let’s face it, us students would take anything; we won’t even get started on how terrible the housing situation is in Galway. However here are some ideas and tips that might help you find a new humble abode next semester.
The first step is deciding if you want to stay in student accommodation, digs or find your own house/apartment to share with other students. Currently there are a few student accommodation options around Galway such as Dunáras, Gort na Coiribe, Cuirt na Coiribe, and Corrib Village (the online accommodation aimed at first year and international students). The university is also hoping to have 429 new beds on offer in new accommodation on the northside of the campus for the 2018/2019 academic year.
If you do decide to go for one of these options be prepared to pay a lumpsum each semester rather than every month. This can be difficult for students that don’t have that amount of money put away for accommodation. If you receive the SUSI grant, finding a house or apartment with monthly rent payments might be the best option for you.
When searching for a house or apartment to share in Galway, you must decide who you want to share with. You may have friends that have decided to share a place already or maybe you’re searching for people. Check out the Facebook page ‘Galway-Rent, Let, House Hunting (For sound people)’ to meet people that are in the same situation as you, and this page also has ads for houses/apartments up for rent.
Daft.ie and rent.ie are also two other great sites for house hunting, while nuigstudentpad.ie is another brilliant option. The rule of thumb is to phone as many people as you can and make arrangements for as many viewings as possible. Always go and see the house; never assume that the pictures you see advertised are real. Ask any student and I’m sure they’ll know of a horror story of how someone was scammed or showed up to a viewing only to find that it looked nothing like the pictures.
To protect yourself from being scammed or tricked here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Always phone and speak to the landlord directly before seeing the house.
2. Travel to the viewing with a friend/family member or future housemate.
3. If possible, talk to current residents in the house.
4. Don’t hand over any money until you have viewed the house, read the contract and know that you can get a receipt.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask whatever questions you want at the viewing. Better safe than sorry.
Once you have decided on a house and are totally sure about it but find that there’s some competition as to who will get it for the year, the best thing you can do to have a chance of securing the house for yourself is to:
1. Meet the landlord face to face, after all it is a lot harder to say no to someone in person. If you leave all the arranging to texts or phone calls, there’s a very slim chance that you’ll get the house.
2. Have a personal reference explaining that you are a good tenant. Try to get a reference from a previous landlord or from an employer – preferably not your mom.
3. Be prepared to pay the deposit on the day, the last thing the landlord wants to hear is ‘I can pay half now’ or ‘Oh, I can get it to you next week when I get paid’.
Finding the perfect place to live while you’re in college for a decent price and with decent people can be difficult, although not impossible. Keep searching, stay safe, be smart and most importantly, don’t give up!
By Tarryn McGuire
Photo credit Jody McIntyre