So you have accepted your chosen college course and it’s time to finally make the big move & set off in search of accommodation for the year ahead. Moving out of home can be a daunting task for many students and it is very important to find a good place to live now that you don’t have anybody to cook your dinner and keep you supplied with clean socks! There are plenty of options to help you find your new lodgings. Here are a couple of tips to get you clued up on how to find college accommodation.
The local newspaper is a great place to find accommodation. Be sure to get the paper on the day of publication though and call as many as you can because you’d be surprised how fast people nab the good places! Your college will have an accommodations office, here you can get in touch with an accommodations officer or a student leader who will be more than happy to give you some advice. Don’t immediately take the first place you view. Talk to the landlord and arrange a time or date when you can give a final decision about taking the room and remember NEVER hand over a deposit unless your 100% sure because you might not get it back.
Campus Accommodation is particularly good if your attending a college where none of your close friends are studying or you are attending a college far from home. Chances are your housemates are in the same boat as you and you could get on like a house on fire. Another advantage of Campus Accommodation is that the apartments are designed especially to cater for students which means that, when you do decide that its time to do a little study that a nice desk in a comfortable room can make a world of difference. Instead of a weekly or monthly rent, on-campus accommodation is paid in two lump sums, at the beginning of the first term and at Christmas, so no worrying about paying rent or bills for a whole year!
If your nervous about leaving home and you don’t feel like your independent enough to live alone, lodgings or digs could be the perfect option. This means renting a room in a family house. You don’t have to worry about cleaning, cooking and bill paying. The obvious downfall with this is you have to respect the family your living with and that means a recital of your favourite Kanye West song will not be welcomed at three in the morning.
Everybody has different needs when it comes to living space. Some people might like to share a room with somebody whereas others just need their own personal space. The obvious advantage of sharing is that the rent will be cheaper but you must make sure your roomie has the same ideas as you or you could land yourself in a lot of trouble! Same goes if your planning on studying and keeping a low profile for a year and your housemates aren’t, don’t share with complete party animals who will be playing music in the living room until 5am!
Before you move in, the Landlord will most likely ask you for a deposit. This is usually a months rent in advance. 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 what’s in the flat and anything that needs to be repaired BEFORE you move in. This way if anything goes missing or gets broken, scamming landlords can’t place the blame on you for something you didn’t do. Always ask for a receipt of the rent you pay and keep a personal rent book.
Even if you wouldn’t give Gordon Ramsay a run for his money in the kitchen, check out the different cooking facilities available in the house. Things that you might take for granted at home such as a grill, sandwich toaster and a microwave can make dinner a lot easier on those cold, winter nights!
Living the student life is not cheap and before long you will have the burden of bills creeping up on you. The bills usually consist of electricity, gas and oil and refuse. So to prevent the lights going off, get your bills sorted out early. Find out if bills will be in your name or the landlords. If the landlord receives the bill make sure you see it to know exactly what you’re paying. If it’s your flat-mates who receive the bills, make sure it’s not just your name on the bill.
If your not happy with where you are living, remember you don’t have to stay there. Give your landlord plenty of notice and find a new place.
For more information on finding accommodation contact the college you’ve applied to or the relevant Students Union (www.usi.ie).