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27/09/2021

Off to college? Top tips for students looking to rent for the first time

Leaving Cert Points? Check! CAO Offer? Check! Knowledge of Renting Rights? Check?

rent pressure zones laois

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) have today released their five top tips for first time and returning college students. The tips will help remind students of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to renting, whether it’s their first-time renting student accommodation or their last.

With September just around the corner, Leaving Cert results on the way and students prepping to return to college, the RTB have noticed that the most common issues students face when renting are related to knowing the rental basics, like making sure they are aware of the terms and conditions they signed up to in their lease or license agreement, how much rent or a deposit to pay, or that the RTB is here to help. 

If you are a student renting this year, it doesn’t matter if your interior design consists of empty pizza boxes and bean bags but what does matter is that you use the RTB Student Rental Checklist below:

Take a look around: Although it can be tempting, you should not sign a tenancy agreement or pay a deposit for the first place you see - take some time to check out other properties and find somewhere that can best meet your needs. And always view a property in person before signing a tenancy agreement.

Check out the basics: When viewing accommodation available to rent, check that it meets basic minimum standards. All rented accommodation must meet a certain number of basic requirements, for example, hot and cold water must be available to the tenant. Also, if you are sharing accommodation with friends or other students, make sure everyone is aware of the terms and conditions in the lease agreement that you all signed up to.

Pay your deposit & get a receipt: Landlords will often ask for a deposit at the start of the tenancy. A landlord cannot ask you to pay more than one month’s rent as a deposit. Ideally, you should only pay a deposit once you have viewed the property and are happy with the terms of the tenancy agreement. Once you’re happy with the property, make sure to ask for a receipt that clearly states the amount and date paid.

Know how much to pay: If your tenancy is in a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ), rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation. You can check out if your tenancy is in a RPZ, verify the previous rent charged and if you are being charged the right amount of rent by visiting the RTB’s Rent Pressure Zone calculator here. Also, along with only being required to pay one month’s rent as a deposit, students cannot be asked to pay more than one month’s rent in advance unless they wish to do so. 

Contact the RTB if you need help. If you have any questions about your tenancy or your rental rights and responsibilities, the RTB can help. Call us Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm on 0818 303037 / 01 702 8100 or visit www.rtb.ie and speak to one of our customer service agents via WebChat.

“Moving away from home and into a new city or town for the first time can be daunting. Heading into college is a pivotal time for students and indeed for their parents. If you are heading to college for the first time or you’re in your last year, and you’re looking to rent, the RTB Student Rental Checklist should be the first place that you go to ensure that you are starting your tenancy on the right foot,” said Emer Morrissey, RTB’s Interim Head of Dispute Resolution.

“Our checklist is a quick and easy way for you to be as prepared as possible coming into the new school year. From experience, the RTB knows students might feel overwhelmed when finding a new home and we’re here to help.” 

Ms Morrissey continues: “The RTB is available to provide assistance to help make your student accommodation experience stress-free. You can read more at RTB.ie/rentingincollege.”

If there are any questions about your student accommodation and rental rights and responsibilities, the RTB has support services available. Students who have any questions can use the RTB’s Webchat service Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm by going onto www.rtb.ie. The RTB would always encourage all landlords and student tenants to keep lines of communication open if issues arise and try and resolve these issues together. If this is not possible, students can use the RTB Dispute Resolution Service for issues related to rent reviews, rent setting, deposits, breaches of obligations and issues relating to maintenance.

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