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Going to college: If moving away from home, seek advice on where to live

The average cost of ‘digs’ in Dublin this year is about €540 a month

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The advice to first years moving away from home is to avoid the private rented market

The advice to first years moving away from home is to avoid the private rented market

The advice to first years moving away from home is to avoid the private rented market

Students are looking forward to the upside of returning to campus, but it also means that many are facing accommodation costs.

The general advice to first years moving away from home is to avoid the private rented market and to seek a room in a campus residence or consider moving in with a host family.

Traditional universities and some other colleges offer student residences, and on-campus accommodation has the benefit of being purpose-built and convenient.

Booking arrangements vary and some are already heavily booked with waiting lists, while others may be accepting names.

Any student interested in this option should check with their college of destination immediately.

Staying with a host family, often referred to as ‘digs’, is the most economical because costs, such as heating, are included and many hosts also provide optional extras such as a light breakfast and evening meal. A five-day agreement, for students who return home for the weekend, is common.

For parents, it comes with the peace of mind that their son or daughter is living in secure housing.

An annual survey on the costs of living for students conducted by TU Dublin found that the average cost of “digs” in the capital this year is about €540 a month.

There is plenty of advice and guidance available to students, whether through college accommodation offices or students’ unions. They are the best port of call for anyone in the hunt for a room and will have a list of available accommodation.

This year, second-year students, who spent first year learning remotely from home, will also be seeking accommodation for the first time, and may want to explore other options.

Anyone looking beyond campus residences or ”digs” should seek advice from the college accommodation offices or the student unions.

As well as being costly, renting in the private market can be a minefield and caution is advised.

Among the tips from the NUI Galway Students’ Union (SU) is to be aware of scams, such as when a ‘landlord’ claims to be out of the country and so can’t show you the property, but requests a deposit.

Scammers have also caught people out by showing a number of people around, getting several deposits and then disappearing with the cash.

Intending tenants should avoid paying the deposit in cash and ensure they get a receipt — to which the are legally entitled — for any moneys exchanged.

Other advice from the NUI Galway SU is to take your time when viewing a property and ensure all the necessities, such as a washing machine, are there and that appliances are in good working order.

In an era of online learning when not all lectures will be in person, students should also check what the broadband speeds and deals are in the neighbourhood to make sure they will be well connected.


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