Éilis Walsh looks at the battle of securing accommodation for college and shares her top tips to beat the stress.
Though it may be summer, students are already at work for the semester ahead. One of the most important aspects of moving away to university life is, of course, securing accommodation for the semester or full academic year ahead. With that comes a lot of hassle.
 
If you are a student still looking for accommodation, don’t freak out just yet! There are still options.
 
1. Facebook Groups - If you are still hunting for accommodation, look on Facebook for accommodation groups catering to your specific area or your university. The University of Limerick, for example, has a lot of Fresher’s Pages and this is where you’ll see advertisements of rooms. (Be sure and investigate the rooms advertised before forwarding any payment)
 
2. Digs – This type of accommodation usually entails taking a room with a family. The perks of this are the house is more than likely to be in good condition, sometimes your host cooks dinner for you and you can usually get cheap rent. A quick Google will show you the offers in your area.
 
3. Accommodation websites – for example Daft.ie, Rent.ie and CollegeCribs.ie. The websites give you the options to narrow down the price, area, and number of rooms you are looking for. I personally recommend Daft.ie, as the website is well laid out and easier to locate potential accommodation.
 
If you are one of the lucky ones and have fought your way through the hordes of other desperate students (well done), there are things I hope you’ve considered:
 
1. A lease or contract - Some landlords don’t provide one but enquire about the possibility of a lease. This gives you more rights as a tenant and prevents you being taken advantage of.
 
2. Student Accommodation Centre in your university – These people are on hand to help you if you’re having trouble with landlords. So be sure and do some research on a service like this in your university, it could come in handy!
 
3. Know your rights! - It is illegal for your landlord to enter, show your apartment to future tenants or to do repairs in your accommodation without giving reasonable notice (about 24 hours). Some landlords can be very invasive of privacy and that’s the last thing you want!
 
Some things to consider when looking for student accommodation are the energy rating, the people you will be living with and of course the living standards of the home. Sure, the house might be a suitable temperature during the summer months, but if the energy rating is poor, then you’ll find yourself extremely cold during the winter months. Enquire about this before taking a room in any accommodation.
 
Housemates are important, simply for the fact that if you don’t get along with them, things will be a lot more difficult. I had to secure accommodation for one semester last year and ended up with a house full of strangers. These strangers turned out to be extremely unhygienic and I lost my deposit due to them. BE CAREFUL and try to secure accommodation with friends if you can.
 
Do not send any form of cash payment, through PayPal, through a bank transaction or otherwise until you are sure that the person you are paying is reliable. You wouldn’t believe some of the stories students have of landlords who took deposits and stopped answering their phones.
 
To sum up, please do your research on all aspects of a house or room before parting with your hard earned cash.