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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 Accommodation 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 or 

Choosing 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 might be more expensive, but you won't have to spend as much on food

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 Union of Students Ireland’s Rent Book for more information on student accommodation.

Think before you 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.

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.

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

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Published August 1st, 2014
Last updated May 21st, 2018
Tags college student accommodation renting leases lodging halls
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