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Help and Advice

Housing Advice

Finding the perfect accommodation doesn’t have to be a chore. But it’s important to remember that there is more to consider than just the size of your bedroom and how close you’ll be to the nearest pub! Our Housing Guide will help you avoid all the common mistakes thousands of tenants make each year when moving into their new house.

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Accommodation Checklists

Accommodation Checklist

The Exterior

  • The roof looks sound, there aren't any tiles missing.
  • The gutters and pipes aren't broken, leaking or full of grass.
  • The window frames aren't rotten.
  • The windows aren't broken, cracked or draughty.

The Interior

  • No signs of damp - e.g. dark patches, peeling wallpaper or flaking paint, mould or smell of must.
  • Few signs of condensation such as mould on the walls.
  • There aren't any signs of pests, like slug trails and mouse droppings.

Gas & Electricity

  • The plugs don't get hot when switched on. There are plenty of sockets.
  • The wiring doesn't look old, there aren't any frayed cables.
  • The gas fire heats up properly and isn't heat stained (if it is it may be dangerous).
  • The cooker works! Try it.  All hobs/rings, oven & grill and take note of its condition.  Is the enamel chipped or dirt, grease and rust in oven, grill and around the hobs?

Plumbing

  • There is hot water.
  • The taps all work properly.
  • The bath and basins aren't cracked, and the toilet flushes properly.

Security

  • The external doors are solid with five-bar mortice locks. Your insurance may insist on this.
  • The internal bedroom doors all have locks.
  • The windows all have locks or are secure.
  • Does it have a burglar alarm? Use your bargaining powers to get one. It is in the agent's/landlord's interest as well as your own.
  • Does it have a smoke detector?

 

Print out Property Comparisons List Below:

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Home Safety Issues

Carbon Monoxide

If you have gas appliances in your house, Carbon Monoxide is a possible danger. It's invisible and odourless, but it can kill.

Watch out for.....

  • Gas flames that burn orange or yellow rather than blue.
  • Sooty stains on or around your appliances.
  • Solid fuels that burn slowly or go out.

Know the symptoms....

  • Unexplained drowsiness.
  • Giddiness when standing up.
  • Headaches.
  • Sickness and Diarrhoea.
  • Chest pains.
  • Unexplained stomach pains.

Carbon Monoxide? Be Alarmed! Campaign

In October 2008 in the UK, the Carbon Monoxide Consumer Awareness Alliance launched a new national campaign aimed at cutting the number of deaths and injuries caused by Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Click here for more information on the Carbon Monoxide? Be Alarmed! Campaign 

 

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Household Costs

Bills....

  • Clarify what is included in your rent. For instance, some agents/landlords include water rates, others don't.
  • If possible, ask the previous tenants the rough cost of gas, electricity and water.
  • Take readings of the relevant meters as soon as you can once the last tenants have left.
  • Change the bills to your name with the relevant suppliers from the time you move in.....decide whether joint names will be put on the bills or if the responsibility will be divided.

Insurance

  • Don't think of doing without it - the number of burglaries and thefts in student houses is rising!
  • Shop around to find the right insurance package for your requirements. The local Insurance Broker near UCD is  OHC Insurances  www.ohc.ie   email info@ohc.ie  ph. 353-1-2951266.
  • Make sure that you're covered over the vacations.

TV Licence

Students are covered by the same licensing requirements as the rest of the population. A licence will be needed by a student living in halls, a bedsit or a flat. If you want more information then please visit  www.anpost.ie 

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Contracts

Contract

If you are sharing a house then you may be asked to sign a joint tenancy or a separate tenancy. If you sign a joint tenancy then you will all be responsible for each other's debts and damages. If you have your own contract then if there are any discrepancies, the argument is between yourself and your agent/landlord and should not involve your housemates.

Points to Note

  • Rents must be agreed before the contract is signed since this is a binding agreement. Remember-you can negotiate with the agent/landlord over rents, opt out clauses etc. if you are not happy with the agent's/landlord's suggestions.
  • You cannot give notice during the period of the contract, if no such clause has been added to the contract. If you leave before the end of the fixed term then you (or your housemates) remain liable for the remaining rent.
  • Always read your contract.
  • Remember to get a copy of your contract!
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Your Rights

Your Agent/Landlord is responsible for........

  • Keeping in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling house, including drains, gutters, and external pipes.
  • Keeping in repair and proper working order the installations for the supply of water, gas, and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, and for heating rooms and heating water.
  • Providing a rent book if statute so requires (e.g. where the rent is paid weekly).
  • Providing you with the agents/landlords full name and address.
  • Allowing you to "peacefully enjoy" your accommodation (unless there is an emergency).
  • Agents/Landlords have the right to enter the property at reasonable times to carry out the repairs for which they are responsible and to inspect the condition and the state of repair of the property. They must give at least 24 hours notice in writing of an inspection. It would be helpful to set out the arrangements for access and procedures for getting repairs done in the tenancy agreement.

You are responsible for.........

  • Acting in a "Tenant-like manner". This means you should perform the smaller tasks around the house such as mending the electric light when a fuse blows; unblocking the sink when clogged with waste, cleaning the windows when necessary.
  • Not damaging the house, if you do then you and your guests are responsible for the repairs.
  • Refuse collection! Remember to find out the collection day from your landlord. Put the wheelie bin out - and bring it back in again - it's illegal to leave it on the street.
  • Securing the property when you go away - lock all the doors and windows!
  • Being reasonable about noise.
  • Reporting all repairs needed to the agent/landlord (preferably in writing). The agent's/landlord's responsibility to repair begins only when they are aware of the problem.

Harassment and Unlawful Eviction

If you are in danger of eviction or suffering from harassment by your agent/landlord then contact the www.citizensinformation.ie or www.threshold.ie

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Safety Advice

We would always recommend viewing a property in person, rather than relying on the information on the web. You will need to check that the landlord and the property are bona fide. We would never recommend transferring any monies to anyone before doing so in person.  For your own personal safety, it is always advisable for you to view a property accompanied and try to arrange the appointment at a reasonable hour. However, there are advantages to viewing it after dark so that you can get an idea of how you will feel when walking home at night.

Security:

Here are a few pointers in checking the security of the property:

  • Is the property in a 'good' area?
  • Is the property set back from the road?
  • Is the street lighting sufficient?
  • Are the front and rear doors solid?
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Deposits

Deposits

You will normally be required to pay a deposit to the agents/landlords as security in case you damage the property or furnishings. It can also be used to cover unpaid bills, rent or missing items. Most agents/landlords will ask for a sum equivalent to four weeks' or a calendar month's rent.

The deposit should be refunded normally within 28 days after you have vacated the property, provided there are no problems with the condition of the house. In order to ensure that you get your deposit back:

  • Ensure that you have a receipt for monies paid.
  • Ensure that you have a full inventory of furniture. Get the agent/landlord to sign it. You may wish to take photographs.
  • Take reasonable care of the house and furniture during the tenancy.
  • Towards the end of your tenancy write to the agent/landlord inviting him/her to inspect the property.
    Settle all the bills.
  • When you leave return all the keys to the agent/landlord and make a written request for the return of your deposit. Keep a copy of the letter.
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Inventory

What is an inventory?

It is not uncommon for tenants not to receive a copy of inventory from their landlords when first moving into their new house.

An inventory can be extremely useful evidence of the condition of the property when you first move in. It provides a full inspection of the property’s contents and their condition.

If you aren’t supplied with an inventory by your Landlord or Letting Agent, don't hesitate to ask for one. If you still don’t receive one, provide them with your own. You do this by making a list of the contents room by room, and then take photos or use video evidence to record the property contents and condition as back up.
The Landlord/Agent and tenant(s) should both sign the Inventory and initial every page to indicate that you agree to the condition of the property contents and condition.

If at all possible, the final inventory check should be done on move out day and checked against the original inventory. This should ensure that there aren't any disputes about the extent of any damage, should there be some, as the landlord may need to take monies out of the deposit to pay for these.

When compiling an inventory it is essential that you:

  • Describe the condition of every item within the property.
  • Back it up with photographic/video evidence.
  • Take a note of the gas and electric meter readings.
  • Get the landlord/agent to agree to, and sign the inventory.
  • Keep a safe copy of the signed inventory to check against when moving out.
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Useful Links

 

Carbon Monoxide Kills

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Advice www.carbonmonoxidekills.com

Citizens Information Board

Citizens Information Board, www.citizensinformation.ie

Threshold

 

Threshold, www.threshold.ie

 

Irish Property Owner’s Association

 

Irish Property Owner’s Association www.ipoa.ie

 

Private Residence Tenancy Board

 

Private Residence Tenancy Board www.PRTB.ie

 

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Merville Student Residence, Belfield, University College Dublin, Dublin 4
Tel: 00353-1-7165772, Email: roombookingsupport@ucd.ie

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