Friday 30 September 2016

Looking for student accommodation? Here's six tips to finding the best place

Published 08/08/2016 | 07:11

The housing crisis is set to worsen this September as a record number of students flock to overcrowded city centres ahead of the new college term. Stock photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The housing crisis is set to worsen this September as a record number of students flock to overcrowded city centres ahead of the new college term. Stock photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

With the start of the new college term soon approaching many are scrambling to find a suitable place to stay over the next year.

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However, anyone that has taken part in the house hunt will know it's far from a pleasurable experience.

Scouring accommodation websites at all hours and ringing landlords whose phones are constantly engaged makes the whole ordeal less than satisfying.

The student housing problem is something the Union of Students Ireland (USI) is actively addressing. USI president Annie Hoey has outlined six tips to help in your house hunt.

Read more: Record number of students scramble to secure housing

1) Start searching early. The earlier you start, the wider a choice you’ll have. If you leave it too late, the best value accommodation options could be booked up.

2) Never put money down, either for a deposit or rent, without meeting the landlord or agency first. There are online scams and frauds you need to be vigilant of. Meeting people in person and seeing the inside of the property before you hand over any money reduces the risk of fraud. Also try to pay electronically by bank transfers as cash isn’t traceable. If you have to pay in cash, make sure you get a receipt.

3) Make sure you fill out an inventory list and take pictures of any damages before you move in, so that anything that was already broken, chipped, peeled or damaged doesn’t get taken out of your deposit as a penalty.

Read more: 'If you're desperate, you'll take anything' - UCD student struggles to find accommodation weeks before classes begin

4) Make sure the contract you sign is for the period you intend to stay in the accommodation. Bear in mind if you are planning on going away or moving back home for the summer you should only sign a contract, or agree with your landlord (in writing) that your stay is as long as the college term, or you could be charged for the whole year’s rent or risk losing your deposit.

5) Draw up a cleaning rota where every housemate has a different job every week, so that it keeps the place tidy and everyone does an equal share of the housework.

6) If possible, try to live with people who have similar lifestyles to you, or who will be respectful of quieter lifestyles. If you’re living with someone loud, messy or who has bad housemate etiquette, it can cause tension.

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