Students advised to sign short leases for renting homes
STUDENTS renting accommodation have been advised to sign a lease for only nine months and to take an inventory of the contents.
They were also warned to choose their flatmates carefully as they could end up owing rent for the people they share with.
A new booklet issued by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) and the Union of Students advises those heading to college and living away from home to make sure they are very clear what is included in the rent.
This is to avoid disputes about who pays for the heating, electricity, bin charges, cable TV and any other extras.
Students were also told to make sure the landlord is registered with the PRTB, the state body that resolves disputes between landlords and tenants.
Director of the PRTB Anne Marie Caulfield said renting for the first time can be daunting.
"Students leaving home and renting for the first time tend to be unsure how much they should be paying in rent."
She said the PRTB had produced a rent index on its website that provides benchmark information on the actual rents being charged by landlords.
She also advised students to think carefully and consider all that is involved in renting a property and moving in with new flatmates.
Students were also told to get a receipt for their deposit and for every rent payment.
"We have also published information on protecting deposits and how to ensure it is refunded at the end of the academic year, as well as a list of what students are legally entitled to in terms of the standard of rented accommodation, and their responsibilities as tenants," Ms Caulfield said.
"Don't sign up to a 12-month lease if you will only be staying for a nine-month academic year."
The PRTB has teamed up again this year with the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) to sponsor a booklet of advice on renting. USI, each college's students' union accommodation and welfare officers, Threshold and the PRTB Call Centre all offer free information.