Once you have a place at university or college, you will 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.
Where to find student accommodation
There are a number of places you can look for student accommodation.
College Cribs is a website dedicated to listing student accommodation in Ireland. You can search for a room, a house to rent with other students, or for digs. You can also check out your college website as well as renting sites such as daft.ie or myhome.ie
Each college will have a Student’s Union Welfare Officer to advise you on renting. You can also check notice boards on campus, where students often put up notices seeking flatmates, as well as houses offering lodgings off campus.
Choosing the right type of student accommodation
Lodgings or digs
Lodgings/digs means renting a room in a family house. If you’re very nervous about leaving home, this could be a good option for first year.
Positives of staying in lodgings/digs:
- Some meals are provided by the family
- You don’t have to worry too much about cooking and cleaning
- Bills are usually included in the payment
- Lodgings are normally cheaper than private accommodation
If you are planning to party lots, this isn’t the best option as you will have to respect the family and be quiet after a certain hour. Before moving in, check if you need to pay to reserve your room during holiday time.
On campus student residences/student halls are normally self-contained villages or buildings. Halls should have everything you need nearby (shops, launderettes, bars) and be easily reached from the university or college. Availability of student halls is increasing, so as soon as you know what college 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.
Positives of living in student halls:
- Halls are a good option for first year students as you can meet new people and become familiar with the campus
- Instead of paying weekly or monthly, halls are paid for at the start of the student year and after Christmas
- Renting in halls mean won’t have to worry about bills or problems with landlords.
- Usually, you will cook for yourself in halls
If you’re not happy in halls, you will need to find another student to take your place before you can leave.
Grants for student accommodation
Student accommodation is expensive and many students cannot afford to rent and have to commute instead. In certain circumstances, there are grants available to students unable to afford their rent while studying.
The Student Assistance Fund
The Student Assistance Fund gives financial support to students in higher education who are experiencing financial difficulties. Students can apply for the fund to help them with either temporary or ongoing financial difficulties. The Student Assistance Fund provides a further source of funding for higher education students in addition to the Student Grant (SUSI)
Each year, the State allocates a certain amount of Student Assistance funding to all approved higher education colleges based on the size of the college’s full-time student population. Students in need of financial support can then make ab application in the college for assistance under the Fund. The Student Assistance Fund is not available in further education/PLC colleges.
Things to check when you find student accommodation
Signing a lease is a big commitment. It’s important to know what you are agreeing to before you make any formal agreement.
Be careful of rent scams
There is a high demand for rented accommodation and because of this, rental scams are becoming more common. When looking to rent, it is important not to rush into a decision. Be aware of offers that seem too good to be true and always check the Register of Landlords to make sure your accommodation is legitimate.
Visit Threshold.ie for more information on rental scams, how to avoid them and what to do if you are scammed .
Signing a lease and your deposit
Before signing a lease, 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. Ask the landlord under what circumstances will money be taken from the deposit on moving out. In some cases, regardless of how clean you kept the apartment, money may be taken from the deposit for maintenance such as cleaning the carpets or painting the walls.
Many students find that when it comes to asking for their deposit back, the landlord charges them for damage already done to the flat. To avoid this happening to you it is best to:
- Take photographs and notes of the condition of the room or house when you move in
- Email a copy to yourself to keep them safe and this will give you proof of the date when the pictures were taken
- 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
If you follow these steps, you should not be asked to pay for anything that was already broken or damaged when you moved in. If you feel your landlord is illegally holding back your deposit from you, remember that you have rights.
Read more about your rights as a tenant.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.