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Help and Advice

Housing Advice


Finding accommodation doesn’t have to be a chore but it does take some time and effort. It’s important to remember that there is more to consider than just the size of your bedroom, how close you will be to college or to your friends! Our Housing Guide is full of useful information.
Helpful websites to seek tenant information are the www.prtb.ie  (Private Rental Tenancy Board) and www.threshold.ie
While Maynooth University Student Accommodation offers students the service of www.maynoothstudentpad.ie, it should be noted that Maynooth University is not a regulatory body in matters of student accommodation.  The service is provide only on a basis that no liability attaches to the University for any subsequent actions, disagreements or shortcomings on the part of the tenant, landlord or any other person.
It should also be noted that accommodation information has been supplied by landlords.  Students should inspect accommodation to satisfy themselves that the information provided is correct and that the accommodation offered is suitable for their use.  No warranty is given or implied by the Maynooth University in respect of the suitability, condition, quality or safety of any of the listed properties.  If, upon inspection, a student is in doubt about any aspect of the accommodation, he/she is strongly advised not to avail of the accommodation and they are also requested to inform the Student Accommodation Office in writing (accommodation.office@mu.ie) of any problems that arise

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Accommodation Checklist

Never book accommodation without thoroughly inspecting it. The following is a suggested 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.
  • Look for ventilation especially in the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom or where you have any gas appliances
  • Is it warm, clean and dry?

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?
  • Are all the electrical appliances are working?

Plumbing & Heating

  • Check there is hot water.
  • The taps all work properly and check the water pressure in the shower.
  • The bath and basins aren't cracked, and the toilet flushes properly.
  • Is hot water provided by an electric immersion heater?
  • How is the house heated?
  • What will it cost to heat, and double check the system is working? Not only is central heating an effective way of keeping warm, central heating can be the cheapest system, and it reduces dampness and condensation.

Security

  • Does the area look safe?
  • Does the house look safe and secure?
  • Check the windows and doors (including bedroom doors) are solid with locks. Check that the windows open. You are responsible for contents insurance. 
  • Does it have a burglar alarm? Use your bargaining powers to get one. It is in the landlord’s/agent's interest as well as your own.
  • Does it have a fire blanket, fire extinguishers, smoke detector, carbon monoxide alarm and a fire escape route?


 

Miscellaneous

  • What furniture is in the house and what is the condition?
  • Is there sufficient storage space?
  • Is the lighting sufficient for study? 
  • Who else holds keys to the property?
  • If there is a garden, who maintains it?  Do you have access to the clothes line?
  • Check Building Energy Rating to try and reduce heating costs?

Recommended Websites

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Household Costs and Key Questions

 

 

Rented Property (House or  Apartment)

Accommodation in a family home (room with a meal plan, room only and self catering)

Deposit

How much will the deposit be?  Make sure to get a receipt?

Your deposit is a security deposit and should be refunded normally at the end of your tenancy or within 28 days after you have vacated the property, provided there are no problems with the condition of the house.  It is not a payment towards rent.

How much will the deposit be?

 

If you require receipts, check with your landlord do they provide receipts?

 

Your deposit is a security deposit and is returned at the end of your occupancy. It is not a payment towards rent.

Rent

Check how much is the rent, when the rent is due (normally monthly), it is your responsibility to make sure your rent is paid on time.  Get a receipt for payment to avoid payment disputes.

A rent book must be provided.  Basically, a rent book is a record of rent and other payments made by a tenant to the landlord.  Further details: click here

Rent books are available from the SU Office and from Threshold at a charge of €2 each.

Check when your rent is due (weekly/monthly) it is your responsibility to make sure your rent is paid on time. 

 

If you require receipts, check with your landlord before you move in, do they provide receipts?

Bills

Clarify what is included in your rent. For instance, some landlords/agents include bins, others don't.

If possible, ask the previous tenants the rough cost of utilities i.e. gas, electricity and water. Take readings of the relevant meters as soon as you can and in the presence of the landlord and do the same when leaving the property at the end of your tenancy.

Check with the landlord/agent do you need to 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.

Careful use of energy will result in savings for all, so turnoff lights and electrical equipment (TV, computers, etc.) when not in use.

Clarify what is included in your rent as in most cases your rent includes all bills.

Contact details

Get a contact address and phone number for your landlord or his/her agent.  Also provide your details including name, address, student number and next of kin contact information.

Ending a Tenancy

Agreement should be agreed prior to moving in on how either party (tenant/landlord) can end the tenancy.

Click here for details of either party ending a tenancy if you need advice or guidelines.

Agreement should be agreed prior to moving in on how either party (tenant/landlord) can end the tenancy.

Energy Rating(BER)

From Jan 2009 all rented properties will have to supply this information.  A high rated house will be far cheaper to heat and save you money.

 

Events/Parties

Tenants living in houses, apartments etc. cannot interfere with their neighbours, or indeed their fellow tenants, rights to “peaceful enjoyment of their property”.  Complaints can lead to the termination of a tenancy and/or referral to the Student Discipline procedures of NUIM.

 

When entertaining, control noise and ensure that guests leave quietly.  It is important to remember who is responsible for damage, no matter how accidental.  Guests should also be considerate when parking.  Rules regarding entertaining should be worked out at the beginning of a tenancy.  Many landlords will not allow parties.  It is also advisable not to have many people visiting a house, etc. at any one time.  Be considerate of your neighbours.

Discuss with your landlord prior to moving in as in general most will not allow parties.

Insurance

 

Don't think of doing without it. Shop around to find the right insurance package for your requirements.  Make sure that you're covered over holiday periods.  You are responsible for insuring your items.

Inventory

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

 

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 letting agent or landlord, don’t hesitate to ask for one.  If you still don’t receive one, provided 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 the damage should there be some, as the landlord may need to take monies out of the deposits 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 oil, gas and electric meter readings
  • Get the landlord/agent to agree to and sign the inventory
  • Keep a safe coy of the signed inventory to check against when moving out

 

Privacy

See below information under rights regarding access by your landlord.

Discuss with your landlord prior to moving in

TV Licence

Any person in occupancy at an address where a television set is held is legally responsible for the licensing of the television set regardless of ownership of either the premises or the set itself.  If you want more information then please visit www.anpost.ie.

Unless your agreement states otherwise you are required to pay for a TV Licence. Even if the landlord has provided a TV set for the house, if the contract does not state otherwise the tenants are liable for payment of the licence. It is your responsibility to ensure that there is a licence for the house.

Each person who watches television has a responsibility to ensure there is a valid licence. It would be very difficult for someone to assert they did not watch the TV if it is in a communal area of the house.

Any person in occupancy at an address where a television set is held is legally responsible for the licensing of the television set regardless of ownership of either the premises or the set itself.  If you want more information then please visit www.anpost.ie.

 

Visitor’s/

Over night guests

The tenant is entitled to have guests but remember you are sharing space so it is important to get the agreement of other tenants.  Obviously should a guest stay more than a day or two, or staying over becomes a regular event (every Thursday night), your fellow tenants and/or your landlord are likely to object.  Also the landlords insurance states the number of tenants in the house and extra people staying will pose problems.

Discuss guidelines with your landlord prior to moving in.

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Licence/Lease/Tenancy/Sub-Tenancy

The PRTB provide very helpful documents in understanding these terms.  Please visit this link if you need to understand these terms better.

 

http://www.prtb.ie/landlords/helpful-info-documents

 

If you are sharing a house then you may be asked to sign a joint lease or a separate tenancy. If you sign a joint lease then you will all be responsible for each other's debts and damages (think carefully if this is a responsibility you wish to have).  If you have your own tenancy then if there are any discrepancies, the argument is between yourself and your landlord/agent 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 landlord/agent 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 licence/lease or any documentation you are provided by your landlord/agent.
  • Remember to get a copy of your agreement or any guidelines that have been discussed!
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Rights

Your Landlord/Agent 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 for rented property (not applicable for accommodations where you live in the family home)
  • Providing you with the agent's/landlord's full name and address.  (NUIM strongly recommends getting contact information)
  • 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 and 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.
  • Securing the property when you go away, lock all the doors and windows!
  • Being reasonable about noise
  • Reporting all repairs needed to the landlord/agent (preferably in writing). The agent's/landlord's responsibility to repair begins only when they are aware of the problem
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Maintenance and Repairs
  • Tenants are not responsible for repairs or damage caused by fair wear and tear.  Fair wear and tear occurs from the ordinary day-to-day living in a property and appropriate usage of facilities (e.gg Washing machine can break down from normal use and the landlord will pay for repair or replacement, however if the washing machine breaks down because you tried to wash your mountain boots in it, you will be liable for the cost of repair or replacement)
  • The landlord is obliged to keep the property “fit for purpose”.
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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.

Carbon Monoxide, Know the symptoms:

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

Things to remember in relation to fire safety:

  • Don’t use chip-pans
  • Don’t attempt to put out cooker fires using water – use a fire blanket
  • Don’t use the cooker for heating or drying clothes
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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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Accommodation Office, Student Services Centre, Maynooth University, North Campus, Maynooth, Co. Kildare,
Tel: +353 1 708 4729, Fax: +353 1 708 3523, Email: HomeFinder.Service@nuim.ie

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