You got to fight for your rights

As the price of renting accommodation in Dublin continues to soar, knowing your rights as a tenant is imperative.
Due to the severe lack of housing available, many students settle for way below average accommodation at a higher than average rent rate.
Students are often made a scapegoat and while not all are angels and some have left their houses in appalling conditions over the years, it is unacceptable to tar us all with the one brush. 
As someone who has experienced incredible difficulty with a landlord/letting agency over the past few weeks, I have a few pieces of advice for anyone considering moving to Dublin and looking to rent a property. 
Know your rights
Here is what the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) has to say about the return of deposits:
“Tenants are entitled to a refund of the deposit paid at the commencement of the tenancy where there is no rent owing in respect of the tenancy and there is no damage to the dwelling beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy.

“Landlords are required to refund the deposit promptly less any deductions in respect of outstanding rent and damage in excess of normal wear and tear.”

Landlords may try to knock off a substantial amount from your deposit because they have to hire a commercial cleaner after you move out, or they need to hire a painter as there are marks on the wall. 
Painting is classified as normal wear and tear and as the landlord is the owner of the property, he/she has a duty to maintain it after your lease comes to an end. Do not let them convince you otherwise.
So long as you have not left the house in an abysmally filthy condition and made a good attempt at leaving it in a cleanly state, do not let them give you the codswallop excuse of having to hire a commercial cleaner for over €200.
The landlord has a duty to ensure the house is properly cleaned before new tenants move in and the cost of that should not be borne by the previous tenants’ pocket. 
Always take pictures
Some landlords take notions that the small, average house you moved into at the start of the year was on the same scale as Buckingham Palace. “This place was in a much better condition when you first moved in,” they will say. 
The best way to combat this is to take pictures of everything in the house once you begin your residency and forward them to the landlord via email. 
That way, if a letting agent tells you that the landlord cannot remember the condition the house was in when you moved in, you have your backup. Which leads me to my next point.
Email about everything
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to document every issue you have throughout your tenancy. Otherwise the landlord can easily adopt a “hear no evil, see no evil” approach. 
No matter how small or frivolous the issue may seem, report it to the landlord in an email. This will prevent them turning the blame on you at the end of the year when you want to get your deposit back and they are trying to subtract the broken kitchen table from your money, even though it wasn’t your fault as the table is older and frailer than your granny.
Often times it is the houses in the worst condition that people struggle with most when trying to get their deposit back. 
Do not make the same mistakes that many tenants previous to you have made. If it ends with you having to lodge a complaint to the PRTB, the above tips ensure you have the proof you need.
The moral of the article is; know your rights, stand up for them, be organised and always document any conversations with your landlord you may have. 
Photo: Håkan Dahlström/ Flickr