The Residential Tenancies Board gives us the key points to renting.
With a college place secured and in your back pocket, the next priority on your list is to find a place to live. However, the current lack of accommodation options can make this process more difficult and time consuming. There are a few different types of accommodation options for students, including private rented accommodation or house sharing, on-campus student accommodation, or ‘digs’ (where you pay to stay in a room in someone’s home and food is included).
 
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is an organisation set up to support, regulate and develop the rental sector in Ireland. The law requires that all landlords who offer private rented accommodation must register with the RTB. A main role of the RTB is to resolve disputes that may arise between tenants and landlords. The RTB also provides information to both tenants and landlords on their rights and responsibilities while renting. As a student looking for accommodation, it is important for you to know that on-campus student accommodation and ‘digs’ (also students renting rooms under the ‘Rent a Room Scheme’) does not come under the remit of the RTB, which means that if you are a student living in on-campus accommodation, for example, you can not take a dispute against your landlord to the RTB.
 
When you sign a tenancy agreement or lease, you have a number of rights and responsibilities as a tenant (your landlord also has certain rights and responsibilities which can be found here:
 

Rent

Tenants must have a rent book, written contract or lease with the landlord. As a tenant, you are entitled to a record of all rent payments made to the landlord. You should also make sure to get a receipt from the landlord when paying rent. You also have the right to be told about any increase to your rent.
 
You are required to pay your rent in full and on time.
 

Property  

The rented accommodation must be in good condition. There must be hot and cold water available, adequate heating and ventilation, and the electricity and gas supply must be in good repair. For more information on the Minimum Standards your rented property must meet, and the fire safety guidelines that must be followed, please find more information here.

A tenant must have privacy, and a landlord can only enter the rented property with your permission unless it is an emergency.
 
Tenants must be reimbursed by the landlord for any repairs the tenant has carried out on the accommodation. The tenant is required to have received the landlords permission to perform the repair, or if the tenant has requested that the landlord carry out an essential repair in writing, but the landlord has not done so, they can carry out the repair.
 
To keep the property in good order and tell the landlord when repairs are needed.
 
You are required not to damage the property (for example, don’t dry clothes inside the property without proper ventilation as this may cause dampness).
 
 As a tenant you must allow the landlord to carry out inspections of the property at reasonable intervals, and on agreed dates and times.
 
 

Security of tenure and ending a tenancy

 
Tenants have a right to security of tenure and for a landlord to end the tenancy, they must service a valid notice of termination. A landlord can end a tenancy during the first 6 months (probationary period) without having to give a reason. However, if a tenancy lasts more than 6 months, the landlord must give you a reason as to why the tenancy is ending. Please visit the RTB website to find out more information on reasons why a landlord can end a tenancy.
 
You are also required to give proper notice when you plan to end the tenancy.
 

Other important information

 
As a tenant, you must be able to contact your landlord or agent acting on their behalf at any reasonable time so make sure to get their contact details and keep them safe.
 
A tenant has the right to refer a dispute to the RTB for dispute resolution through either free mediation or adjudication.
 
You must comply with the terms of tenancy agreements, whether written or verbal.
 
It is important to let the landlord know who is living in the property. You cannot let others move in without the landlord’s consent.
 
You are required to behave responsibly in the property and not engage in anti-social behaviour. It is important that you do not perform any hazardous acts that would affect your landlord’s insurance premium on the property.
 
If this if your first time to move out, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your Student Union and other college staff who will provide you with guidance and will do their best to assist in the process of finding somewhere to live.
 
Visit the RTB website  for more information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, including how much rent you should be paying.