Checklist for Student Accommodation
Before you move in / when you view accommodation
- Do some research on whether you want to live in a house, digs or an apartment complex.
- Check with your Students’ Union for a list of student friendly accommodation in the local area – they’ll also be able to tell you how much you should be paying for accommodation in the area.
- Don’t sign a lease unless you’ve read it and understood all of it – bring it to your Students’ Union if you have any questions?
- Double check the amount of the deposit, rent in advance and rent.
- Check for damp and mould -ie behind bed, in wardrobe.
- For security, check all the locks on doors and windows, alarm, fire alarm, fire extinguishers, and make sure you know who else has a key.
- Check appliances: cookers, vacuum cleaner, shower, microwave etc. to see that they work.
- If necessary, ask situation with parking for bicycles and cars.
- What bills are you going to have to pay on top of rent? Heating, electricity, internet, cable TV, bin charges?
- Is the accommodation convenient & safe? Is it near your college, shops, bus route etc – it’s handy when you need to run to a 9am lecture!
- If you sign a contract, for a year for example, but leave early, you may be held liable for the rent for the duration of the contract.
- If you sign a contract as part of a group, you will all be jointly liable for the rent or any damage to the property.
- Request all necessary contact details from the landlord, if you are renting from a letting agent please request details of landlord too. This will come in handy if you ever find yourself in a dispute. You should check on the lease that the landlord’s full details are given (and not the agents) before they sign anything
When you’ve moved in
- Ensure there’s an inventory of all utensils and equipment in the accommodation signed by both you and the landlord.
- Where you have concerns regarding the condition of any item it is advisable to raise this in writing to your landlord/agent at the commencement of the tenancy.
- Check locks on windows and doors.
- Ask for the energy rating of the house (BER cert) – the higher the number the cheaper the house will be to heat.
- If you are asked to sign a lease, make sure you read it carefully and understand it BEFORE signing it.
- Take photos of all the rooms and the exterior when you move in, make sure they’re dated and e-mail them to the landlord or meet with landlord and ask him/her to sign it. Keep the photos in case of disputes arising when you’re claiming back your deposit?
- Get a receipt every time you hand over money. Don’t pay by cash if possible.
- Make a list of everything that’s in the place when you move in and make note of what condition it’s in.
- Aim to be a decent tenant, clean up your mess, be conscious of other people living with or around you.
- Check if there’s a fire alarm and fire safety devices – your landlord is obliged to provide these.
- Keep all correspondence throughout the year
When you are vacating the premises
This is your vacating checklist to ensure that you get your full deposit back. No excuses will be accepted if the property is not returned in order and deductions can be made from the deposit.
- INSPECTION If a property is left unsatisfactory your landlord has the right to take deductions from your deposit to fix the problems. If the checklist is read properly there is no reason why a deposit shouldn’t be returned.
- BILLS & RENT: Ensure all rent is paid up to date and there are no outstanding bills as you leave the accommodation.
- CHECK INVENTORY: If there is anything missing or damaged they must be replaced, including light bulbs.
- ENTRANCE HALL: Floor coverings cleaned/ shelving/wall decorations cleaned/ any furniture in hallway cleaned.
- SITTINGROOM/LIVINGROOM: All furniture cleaned/ floor covering cleaned/ Shelving/wall decorations cleaned/ skirting boards should be cleaned if dusty/ fireplace cleaned (if applicable).
- KITCHEN: Hob/oven/grill pan/oven door and controls cleaned/ fridge defrosted and cleaned/ Remove and dispose of all food stuff/dishcloths/cleaning detergents etc./ Ensure all electrical equipment i.e. kettle, washing machine etc. cleaned down/ All shelf, cutlery and cooking utensils washed, dried and put away/ floor cleaned and disinfected/ plastic bags and rubbish removed and disposed of/ strong smells i.e. cigarette smoke and spices must not be noticeable in the property.
- BATHROOM: Shower/bath cleaned and disinfected/ shower curtain were applicable soaked and disinfected/ toilet bowl, toilet seat and surround cleaned/ Sink cleaned and mirror (where applicable) floor cleaned/ all toiletries removed including toilet roll/ all Shelving cleaned.
- BEDROOMS: Floor coverings cleaned/ All bedroom furniture cleaned/ mattress protectors (where applicable) washed/ all bed linen and personal items removed.
- KEYS: Make sure you return the keys to the landlord.
Return of Deposit
Your landlord does not have to return your deposit on the day you leave but it must be returned promptly. A period of 14 days is a reasonable time-frame for the return of a deposit under normal circumstances.
What do I do if I am in dispute with my landlord?
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) helps to solve disputes and disagreements between landlords and tenants. If you are a tenant who lives in private rented residential accommodation then you may avail of the dispute resolution service of the RTB.
If a problem does arise, try to first settle your difference directly with the landlord.
If you feel that your rights have been infringed get advice from: Citizens Information Centre (Check the phone book for local contact details) or
Threshold National Housing Charity provides advice to tenants and advocates on their behalf with landlords and letting agents to resolve tenancy issues. (You can find useful guides and template letters on their website as well as videos on common tenancy problems.
Threshold, No 5 Prospect Hill, Galway. 091-5630800. www.threshold.ie
If you are unable to resolve the dispute then you may have to take your case to the RTB. There are limits to the letting situation where the RTB may become involved. These include where:
- You are a tenant in local authority housing.
- You live with your landlord under the ‘rent a room scheme’
- You live with the spouse, parent or child of the landlord and there is no written letting agreement in place.
- You are on the premises as part of a holiday letting agreement.
- Where the dwelling is wholly or partly used for carrying on a business.
- Where a dwelling is let under a licence agreement.