Guide to Renting
A Student's Guide to renting
By now most of you will be settling into your new accommodation. However it is never too late to make yourself aware of your rights and obligations as a tenant.
• Remember that if you sign a contract or lease for a certain amount of time, then you are legally committing yourself to paying rent for that time. So unless you’re completely comfortable and happy with the conditions, don’t sign anything!
• Legally your landlord must give you a rent book or written legal agreement or lease. The rent book keeps a track of all the payments you make throughout the year, i.e. rent/bills and can be extremely useful if problems arise between you and your landlord. Make sure you ask your landlord for a rent book if you’re not being offered one.
• When you move into your new house/apartment, a good tip is to take photos! This way you can’t be blamed for previously stained carpet or broken chair! Also take photos when you’re moving out, this can really help when it comes to looking for your full deposit back.
• Before you hand over any deposit/rent, make sure you check that the house is secure and that locks/windows/smoke alarms etc. are all in working order. Also check if important appliances such as the cooker, washing machine, television etc. are in good working condition.
Rights of Tenants:
• You have the right to privacy. Once you are living in your new home, the landlord is only allowed to enter with your permission. This means that if the landlord wants to do repairs or check the accommodation, they should arrange a suitable time with you.
• Accommodation must be fit to live in. The house should be safe and secure, and rodents of any kind, mice/rats or even ants are totally not acceptable so get on to your landlord as soon as possible if these appear!
• Rent can only be increased once a year (as per new tenancies Act 2004).
• If something in the house/apartment breaks and is not your fault, the landlord is obliged to repair/replace the item and pay for it.
• All of the deposit should be returned to the tenant unless rent is owed or there has been damage to the property.
As with all relationships, it works both ways! The tenant also has obligations to the landlord:
• Respect the landlord and their property. Remember you are only renting the house/apartment, you do not own it!
• Pay the rent at the agreed time and in full.
• Pay any charges, e.g. bin/television license payable by the tenant under the terms of the lease.
• Respect your neighbours. It’s a lot easier and will be more enjoyable in the long term. Although a party at 3am may seem like a good idea at the time, remember your actions do have consequences! Aim to be a law abiding neighbour!
• Allow the landlord to access the property for occasional inspections or if repairs are needed.
• Ask your landlord for permission before making any alterations to the property. Doing simple things like using white tac instead of blue tac or even nails can save a lot of hassle when it comes to moving out and looking for your full deposit back.
• Keep the house clean and tidy and take the rubbish out weekly. Leaving dishes until the morning may seem like a good idea at the time, but the leftover food will attract unwanted guests! Trust me on this, plus friends are more likely to visit if you have a nice smelling house/apartment.
You can also contact CIT Accommodation Officer, Deirdre Falvey, on 021 4326453. She knows anything and everything about renting and is very willing to help and advise you.
Threshold is the National Housing
Organisation which provides free and confidential information, advice and support to people with housing problems. You can contact their Cork
office on 021 4278848. Alternatively,