Seaching for accommodation: Advice for students Print

Before you start looking for your next home-away-from-home, think of the type of place you want; on campus - off campus, moving in with friends - on your own, student complex - private residence, how much can you afford? How far from college? has loads of student specific accommodation that you can compare and is the perfect place for you to start your search. Accommodation adverts on have detailed property descriptions, photos, map locations and accommodation features. Make sure you have a good look around at what is out there - in today's market it certainly pays to shop around.

Once you have found a place that you like, ask the landlord more questions and make sure the property is habitable. Is there heating and lighting, ventilation? Do all the electrical appliances work? What local services are nearby? What other specific features are you looking for in your accommodation - Internet broadband? Microwave? etc.

Before you hand over any deposit or sign a lease, make sure you view the property and are happy with it. Get a receipt of the deposit paid. At the end of your tenancy you should get the deposit back unless a) there is outstanding rent or b) there is damage to the accommodation beyond expected wear and tear.

In the event that something goes wrong and you are having problems with the landlord, the first place you should go to is your Students' Union. The Welfare Officer can provide you with advice and information regarding any problems. There is also the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) which was set up as an informal court where tenants and landlords would take their disputes. The board is used if the problem cannot be resolved with just the two of you. You don't need a lawyer, just fill out a form and pay a small fee.

Lastly, remember to keep in mind that this is where you will be spending the next 9 months; make sure you are happy with the accommodation and the people you will be living with. Living away from home is one of the most exciting aspects of being a student, but also brings responsibility. Enjoy it!