Warning issued over the length of leases
As offers of college places arrived in homes around the country yesterday, students were being advised on how to avoid the many pitfalls present when renting a private property.
Students - particularly those who will be renting for the first time - can get advice on whether they are paying too much for what they are getting as well as their tenancy rights and responsibilities, the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) has said.
Director Anne Marie Caul- field said: "PRTB has found that many first-time students are unsure of their rights, or who to contact if they find themselves in difficulty.
"One of the biggest challenges this year is the cost of renting and scarcity of accommodation.
"The danger is that students, in a desire to find accommodation, sign up to longer leases than they need before informing themselves of market rent in the area or of their rights."
The rental body added that it was encouraging students to search its website to see if a potential landlord had had previous dispute cases.
To make the information more accessible to students, the PRTB, in conjunction with the Union of Students of Ireland (USI), will sponsor a guidebook of advice on renting which will be launched later this week and distributed to all new students in freshers week packs as well as being available on the USI website.
"This guide will provide students with vital but simple information for the first few weeks in college. It can help you establish a budget early on in the year and keep your finances in check in addition to our accommodation advice," said USI president Kevin Donoghue.
Ms Caulfield added that students should consider the flatmates they will be living with.
She said: "Remember that you may find yourself jointly and severely liable for your flatmates' rent arrears or bills. We have also published information on protecting deposits and how to ensure it is refunded at the end of the academic year.
"We would remind students to make sure they get the landlord's name, address and phone number in case of emergencies - you're entitled to that.
"And don't sign up to a 12-month lease if you will only be staying for a nine-month academic year."