The first round of CAO Offers will be issued next Monday, and thousands of students across the country will now find themselves looking for accommodation for the 2018/19 academic year.
Housing for NUI Galway students has been an issue in the past. A lack of rent control for purpose-built student accommodation sparked the Cúirt Shakedown protests back in May. The students were protesting against the €1000 rent increase for the upcoming academic year. This rent increase may see a lot of students turning to the private rental sector for their accommodation needs come September.
NUI Galway Students’ Union are urging students to be cautious before committing to a private residence this year.
“Before rushing into signing a lease or contract, it is extremely important to make sure the property fits then needs of all tenants. There are properties available, so don’t panic, and make sure you keep a close eye on all the accommodation websites especially www.nuigstudentpad.ie.”
NUI Galway Students’ Union recommend following these handy tips before signing a lease:
- Take your time when viewing a property. Ensure all the necessities are there, like washing machine, furnishings, beds.
- Take photos of the property and make sure to highlight any damages already there, such as cigarette burns and carpet stains.
- When viewing the property, check that all gas and electrical appliances are in good working order.
- If there are any repairs to be made in the property, be sure to get it in writing from the landlord or agency that these problems will be rectified before handing over your deposit.
- Avoid paying the deposit in cash and ensure you get a receipt for any moneys exchanged. You are legally entitled to a receipt so make sure you insist on one.
- Request a viewing prior to the move in date to ensure that all outstanding issues have been rectified.
- Ensure the house is well ventilated and that heating sources are identified prior to signing a contract/lease.
- Insist that a building energy rating (BER) certificate is provided prior to signing the contract. This will help you know how cold the house is likely to get and will give you an idea of the cost for heating.
- Ensure you are clear on the duration of the tenancy. If you sign a lease and leave early you may be liable to pay outstanding rent even though you are no longer living there.
- Make sure it’s clearly outlined in your lease which utility bills you must pay.
- Take out contents insurance as the landlord’s policy will not cover your personal possessions.
- Make sure to get a free rent book from the Students’ Union particularly if you are paying your rent in cash and have the landlord sign the book and give you a receipt.
Students’ Union President Megan Reilly believes that finding accommodation can be extremely stressful and people tend to rush into it.
“It is paramount that you follow these guidelines and ensure that the house you live in will be sustainable for you and your friends,” she says. “Never rush into getting accommodation, be cautious and insist on receipts and any repairs where necessary. This will be where you stay for at least nine months so make sure you have all the necessities before making any commitments. Students still seeking accommodation should check www.nuigstudentpad.ie.”
By Áine Kenny
Photo credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi via Flickr