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How to find student accommodation

Student housing can go quickly so you should start looking as soon as possible


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life


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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.

Where to find student accommodation?

With the shortage of accommodation in Dublin and other built up areas, the Union of Students Ireland set up a site encouraging people with spare bedrooms to rent to students.

You can visit the site here and register an account to view lisitngs.

Other places to look:

  • Your Student's Union Welfare Officer: Each college will have one to advise you on renting 
  • Notice boards on campus: Students will put up notices seeking flatmates as well as houses offering lodgings off campus
  • Online: Check out your college website as well as renting sites such as daft.ie or myhome.ie 

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:

  • Meals are provided by (maybe breakfast and dinner) by the family
  • You don't have to worry much about cooking and cleaning
  • Bills are usually included in the payment
  • Lodgings are normally cheaper than private accommodation 

If you're planning to party lots, this isn't the best option as you'll have to respect the family and be quite after a certain hour. Before moving in check if you need to pay to reserve your room during holiday time.

Student halls

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. 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.

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'll cook for yourself in halls

If you're not happy in halls, you'll need to find another student to take your place before you can leave.

Download the USI Accommodation and Finance Guide 2018 to find out everything you need to know about renting student accommodation. 

How much will I have to pay for student accommodation?

Student accommodation rent prices will vary depending on the location where you rent and the type of accommodation you choose. The prices below are for the 2018/2019 academic year.  

UCD

  • On-Campus, not catered: €692 - 952 per month
  • On-Campus, catered: €1216 per month
  • Off-Campus, own studio/apartment: €850-1300 per month
  • Off-Campus, shared apartment: €400-800 per month

UCC

  • On-Campus: €300 - €650
  • Off-Campus: €500 - €700

University of Limerick 

NUI Galway 

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 application in the college for assistance under the Fund. The Student Assistance Fund is not available in further education/PLC colleges.

For more information and to check your eligibility click here

What should I check before I rent?

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.

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.

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. Click here to find out more.

Be careful of rent scams

The demand for rented accommodation is currently at it's highest 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 .

Check out SpunOut's Accommodation section for more information about leases and your rights as a renter.

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Published August 1st2014
Last updated Sep­tem­ber 6th2018
Tags college student accommodation renting leases lodging halls
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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