THE Citizens’ Information Centre in Ennis is receiving a lot of calls from students who are seeking to rent accommodation prior to commencing college. Many students are still searching for accommodation and moving away from home for the first time, according to Paul Woulfe manager with the Citizens’ Information Service.
“Leaving home for college is an exciting time but students should do their homework when deciding where to live. It’s important to check out the location, the property and the landlord. Never hand over cash and always get a receipt. Don’t sign a 12-month lease if the college year is only nine months or you risk losing your deposit. Take photos with a camera or mobile phone to avoid disputes about damage later,” he advised.
“The two main types of agreement between landlord and tenant are a written contract known as a lease, or an oral tenancy. The terms of a lease govern the contract and the landlord and tenant are bound by it except when contradictory with statutory provisions. A lease agreement is normally for 12 months – this can be a problem for students as the college term is eight to nine months and should be a major factor to be taken into consideration before signing a lease.”
Mr Woulfe is urging students not to sign any letting agreement or lease that they have not read or that they don’t understand.
“An oral contract of tenancy is as good as a written contract of tenancy with regard to the general rights and obligations of a tenant. However, a written agreement is still preferable to an oral one because it clarifies matters for both parties,” he went on.
“The landlord is obliged to provide a tenant with a rent book for use throughout the term of the tenancy. The landlord must enter the particulars relating to the tenancy in the rent book, and, in the case of a new tenancy, complete the inventory of furnishings and appliances supplied with the house for the tenant’s exclusive use.
“The deposit must be returned to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. Deductions may be made for damage over and above normal wear and tear, inadequate notice and any outstanding rent or bills.
“It’s advisable to take photos of all the rooms and exteriors when you move in, make sure they are dated and email them to the landlord. Keep them in cases of disputes arising when you are claiming back your deposit.”
He also advised students to check that there is a fire safety alarm.
Your landlord is obliged to provide these as well as a BER Cert – the higher the number for the energy rating of the house, the cheaper it will be to heat
He also urged students to download the Rent Book and Accommodation Guide from the Union of Students; website, which will provide students and parents with all the practical information needed on any accommodation issues they may face throughout the college year.
People can also contact you local Citizens’ Information Centre or log on to citizensinformation.ie for your rights as a tenant. For further information, contact Ennis CIC at 0761075260.