Tips on finding the best student digs in town!
Once you have a place at university or college, you'll need to organise somewhere to live quickly. Depending on your situation, you might continue living at home or you might have relations that you can stay with. However for many people, college means moving to a new town or city and trying to find a flat for the first time.
Nabbing that perfect pad:
- Your college or university will have an accommodation officer or someone in student services that can advise you on getting a place. Try speaking to them first.
- Usually, there are notice boards all over the college campus with notices: seeking flatmates, advertising rented houses and offering lodgings.
- Don't panic and take the first place you look at. Ask someone with experience of living in rented accommodation to come with you and to check stuff like the heating, who you're living with, how long it will take you to get to college and if the kitchen is okay for cooking.
- Check out the local newspapers for the area you're moving to. There are often loads of classified ads with houses or rooms to let. Make sure to get a copy of the paper as soon as it comes out, as everyone will be fighting for the best deals.
- Everybody has different needs when it comes to living space. Some people are happy to share a room, while others need their own space. You might be looking for a party house or for a house where you can study and get a good night's sleep. You'll also have to consider whether you want to cook for yourself, whether you value independence or home comforts and whether you want to live with other students or find your own place.
Types of accommodation:
Find out here about renting a flat.
Lodgings or digs:
- Lodgings/digs means renting a room in a family house.
- Meals are provided by (maybe breakfast and dinner) by the family.
- You don't have to worry much about cooking and cleaning.
- If you're planning to party lots, this isn't the best option. You'll have to respect the family and not roll in singing at 3 am.
- Bills are usually included in the payment.
- Lodgings might be more expensive, but you won't have to spend as much on food.
- Check if you need to pay to reserve your room during holiday time.
- If you're very nervous about leaving home, this could be a good option for first year.
- On campus student residences/student halls are normally self-contained villages or buildings.
- Halls should have everything you need nearby (shops, laundrettes, bars!) and be easily reached from the university or college.
- Ask about the deposit conditions. A deposit is a lump sum of money (often one month's rent) that you are asked to pay to cover any damage to the accommodation while you live there.
- Many students find that when it comes to asking for their deposit back, the landlord charges them for damage already done to the flat. Make sure that the landlord gives you a list of items in the flat and a list of anything that needs to be repaired BEFORE you move in. Then you can't be asked to pay for anything already broken or damaged.
- Availability of student halls is increasing, so as soon as you know what uni you're going to, call and ask about their accommodation.
- Read the prospectus so that you have a good idea of what the student halls are like.
- A lot of first year students choose halls, as it's a great way to get to know other people and find your way around the uni.
- Halls are hassle free. You won't have to worry about bills or problems with landlords.
- Usually, you'll cook for yourself in halls.
- Instead of paying weekly or monthly, halls are paid for at the start of the student year and after Christmas.
- If you're not happy in halls, you'll need to find another student to take your place before you can leave.
- Download the Union of Students Ireland’s Rent Book for more information on student accommodation.