WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
1. Private Rental (you rent a room in a shared house/flat)
In a private rental, you can rent a room in a shared house or an apartment which is owned by a landlord. The landlord will not live in the house. You can choose to rent a whole house / apartment with friends, or you can search for rooms available in houses / apartments that are already shared, and a room has become available.
Here are a few options that are particularly useful for UCD students to find private rental accommodation:
We worked with Daft.ie on a student accommodation specific search, which searches places near UCD. You can find this here.
www.ucdaccommodationpad.ie/Accommodation UCD Accommodation Pad is a purpose-built site, managed by UCD Residences, which carries adverts for rooms to let in the UCD area.
**Warning: We have had reports of students being scammed on this page.
Please be aware of scams no matter what platform you are using to search for accommodation.**
On the UCDSU Accommodation Facebook Group local landlords and UCD students advertise available rooms in shared houses etc. This is also a good place to meet other students searching for similar accommodation.
Beware of cowboy landlords who rent out substandard accommodation, who especially target students who may not know their rights or may not be in a position to ask for them considering the high level of competition to find a room in the current climate. You should bring a parent or family member along where possible when viewing rooms.
Where should I live?
Keep in mind that UCD is based in Dublin 4, which has the highest rent in the entire country. Therefore, the closer you live to campus, the more expensive your rent may be.
If you want to walk to class:
Clonskeagh, Donnybrook, Roebuck Road, Mount Merrion, Booterstown.
Milltown, Dundrum, Churchtown, Rathmines, Ranelagh, Stillorgan, Goatstown, Booterstown, Blackrock, Sandymount.
Public transport: Pick a place close to a bus/Luas/DART line that services UCD.
STARTING A TENANCY
The legal limit for a deposit is one months rent. You should not pay your deposit until you are happy with the property and have made sure you are not being scammed.
Important tip: Once you move into the property, make sure to take clear photos of all of the rooms and furniture so a landlord can’t withhold your deposit for damage that you didn’t cause.
More info from threshold available here: https://www.threshold.ie/advice/seeking-private-rented-accommodation/paying-a-deposit/
LEASES AND TENANCY
Top two facts about leases:
1. Even if you didn’t sign one, you are entitled to your full rights as a tenant under Irish law. Your lease also cannot infringe upon your rights under Irish law.
2. If you live in Digs, you’re not entitled to most of the rights of a tenant, so it is extra important that you sign some kind of agreement with your landlord, just so you both know where you stand.
That said, please check out threshold’s advice page on leases here
If your landlord doesn’t want to sign a lease: that’s dodgy.
Signing a lease makes life less stressful down the line. You’ll have a document to refer to when you have a disagreement between housemates, or between tenant and landlord.
If you are unsure if what’s in your lease is legal or not, please consult Threshold’s wonderful free advice hotline which you can call on 1800 454 454 (Mon-Fri, 9AM-9PM).
When you live in Digs, what you sign might be called a Right to Reside instead of a Lease or Tenancy Agreement
Doing an Inventory
Much like a lease, an inventory is something simple you can do at the start of a tenancy to make things much easier later. For example, to get your deposit back without hassle.
Ask your landlord if they have an inventory of the property: what furniture and fixtures are included in the lease, what damage is present, etc.
If the landlord does not have a list like this available, make one yourself! The Residential Tenancy’s Board (RTB) has a sample inventory available to download here: https://www.rtb.ie/beginning-a-tenancy/inventory/
RTB also recommends taking pictures of the property on the date you move in and sending a copy of these pictures to your landlord.
Both you and your landlord should sign the inventory, to avoid later disputes.
We’ve all heard stories about housemates from hell. Most of us have experienced a housemate from hell. And maybe, if we’re really honest, one or two of us have probably been that hellish housemate.
Unlike with tenant-landlord disputes, there are no regulations under Irish law to resolve conflicts between housemates. So, the best way to resolve those issues is to set out an agreement amongst yourselves.
A housemate agreement isn’t an airtight legal document, it won’t completely stop disagreements from happening. But it will really help everyone to start off on the same page and resolve issues as they arise.
Things to include in your housemate agreement:
Rules about guests and parties: Do you have to warn ahead? Who cleans up after? What if your guest breaks something?
Food: does everyone have their own cupboard? Is there communal food? Who pays for that?
Cleaning rota for communal areas
Quiet hours: in case you want to get sleep before that Monday morning 9am lecture
Are you responsible for finding someone else to rent your room should you move out early? Are your housemates?
The key thing about a housemate agreement is that everyone has to agree. Have a housemate meeting the first week you move in. Figure out what you want and talk it all through.
While studying at UCD, you have 4 main options for accommodation:
1. Private Rental (House Share)
3. UCD On-Campus Accommodation
4. Private Purpose-Built Student Accommodation
Digs is where a student rents a room in an owner-occupied house. You’ll be living with your landlord. Every Digs house has its own services and its own vibe. Some digs only want students to stay 5 nights a week (Sunday-Thursday) whereas others will offer 7 nights a week. Some provide meals, laundry, and more. You can search for digs on UCD Accommodation Pad, UCDSU’s Accommodation Facebook page.
Due to the variable nature of what Digs accommodation includes, it is important to discuss in advance arrangements such as:
1. Is this to be a 5 or 7-day rental?
2. Is it a single, double, or twin room?
3. Is there a desk in my room or is there a place I can study in the house?
3. Are bills included in rent?
4. Are there any added benefits, for example, use of a TV room or WiFi?
5. Are any/all meals be included, or will you have kitchen access? Can I store my own food?
6. What are the rules regarding guests?
7. Do I have access to facilities to do my laundry?
In Digs, instead of a Tenancy Agreement, you and your landlord would sign a Right to Reside. However, a landlord does not have to provide you with a written agreement in digs. It is best to get some form a written agreement with your landlord describing
Benefits of Digs:
Can be a home away from home
Often close to campus
You have no tenancy rights
You may be evicted without notice and without reason
3. UCD On-Campus Accommodation
Campus rental accommodation is available to all UCD students. Most rooms are reserved for first year and international students. They have limited space and are an expensive option.
Campus accommodation has become far less affordable in recent years, as rents have increased by 76% over the last decade and it is due to increase by a further 12% over the next three years. UCD Students’ Union has been campaigning to reverse the proposed 12% increases, but we need more students to join the fight if we are to achieve this.
If you have managed to secure a room on campus, you have all the same rights and responsibilities of a tenant in private rental accommodation.
UCD Residences have their own website with more information on https://www.ucd.ie/residences/
4. Private Purpose-Built Student Accommodation
Purpose built student accommodation has been popping up within commutable distance of UCD.
They are very expensive, and they are priced outside of the budget of the average student.
If you can afford to stay here, they often have private ensuite rooms with shared living facilities.
UCD Students’ Union are lobbying the government to stop building luxurious private student accommodation and to only allow the development of student accommodation that will be affordable for the average student.
BEWARE OF SCAMS!
NEVER sign a lease or hand over money without physically visiting the property. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, it is currently possible to view rentals. You should be allocated a time to view the room, wear a mask to the viewing and keep 2 metres distance from the person showing you the room.
If you cannot physically view a property, ask the landlord or agent to arrange a virtual viewing. If they don’t agree to this, this may be a red flag!
ALWAYS request a RECEIPT for any money, do not hand over cash without a receipt.
ALWAYS make sure the landlord is who they say they are, that they really have the right to rent the property and that the keys work in the door.
If it seems too good to be true,
IT PROBABLY IS.
Threshold has a great resource for spotting scams available on their website HERE
If you have been scammed, contact the Gardaí immediately. The closest station to UCD is in Donnybrook:
Donnybrook Garda Station
43, Donnybrook Road,
You can contact this station by phone on: +353 1 666 9200
You can contact the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation: directly by phone: +353 1 6663777
Or online: https://www.garda.ie/en/Crime/Fraud/
Threshold’s free advice hotline on 1800 454 454 (Mon-Fri, 9AM-9PM).
GOT A SPARE ROOM?
Join our Accommodation Support Group on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/UCDAccommodation/
Read our guidelines below 👇
Put together your ad advertising the room and post it in the Facebook group.
Some things to consider when making your ad…
Is it a single, double or twin room?
What will the rent be per week/month and will bills be extra on top of this?
Is the property landlord occupied (digs)?
What will the mealtime arrangements be - will any/all meals be included, or will the student have kitchen access?
Is this a 5 or 7 day rental?
Where is the property located, and what transport options are there to UCD?
Do you have any photos of the room you could attach to the ad?
Have you provided a contact number or email address for potential tenants?
Minimum Requirements for posting in the Accommodation Facebook Group:
The property/room on offer must meet the minimum standards as set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017.
More information can be found HERE.
Rent must be less than €650 per month for a single occupancy room (exclusive of bills)
Rent must be less than €500 per person per month for a shared room (exclusive of bills).
Why we might remove your ad:
Your advertisement did not meet the minimum requirements
Your advertisement contained discriminatory language
Your advertisement appears to be a scam
A student requested for your advertisement to be removed
***Please note that UCDSU reserves the right to delete your advertisement without explanation. We are here for the benefit of students; if your advertisement is not beneficial to our students, it will be removed without an explanation.
Landlords must advertise the property directly - UCDSU will not advertise the property on behalf of the landlord. Please note that UCD Students' Union does not take calls or visits from landlords to our offices.
If you need any further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS
There is a good run down of who is responsible for what parts of property maintenance and repair here: https://www.rtb.ie/beginning-a-tenancy/rights-and-responsibilities/
Threshold has further info on what to do if the landlord doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain here: https://www.threshold.ie/advice/dealing-with-problems-during-your-tenancy/standards-and-repairs/
If you think your housing is substandard in a ‘this is the landlord’s fault’ way, you can contact the relevant local authority to report breaches and arrange an inspection.
DO NOT withhold your rent as a means of encouraging repairs to get fixed as this may put your tenancy at risk.
Getting Your Deposit Back
Now’s time to crack out the inventory and photographs you took at the start of your lease – if your landlord threatens to withhold your deposit, you can use these documents to dispute that decision.
There is no designated timeframe in which a landlord has to return a deposit back, but the norm is usually within 14 days after the end of a tenancy.
The Residential Tenancy Board (RTB) has a simple checklist about getting your deposit back HERE.
They also have a service which exists to mediate disagreements between landlords and tenants, which is handy if your landlord unlawfully withholds your deposit.
MOVING OUT: WHEN YOU WANT TO END YOUR TENANCY
Threshold gives some great student specific advice on ending a tenancy on their website here: https://www.threshold.ie/advice/ending-a-tenancy/advice-for-students/
Finding Someone to Take Your Place
There are no legal requirements regarding finding someone to fill your place in your rented accommodation if you leave early. This means that instead you need to find an agreement that you, your housemates, and your landlord agree is fair.
However, if you find someone to fill your room and your landlord objects to them, this is not sufficient reason for them to terminate your lease or withhold your deposit.
No matter how long you have been living in a property, you have a right to a Notice of Termination and at least 28 days’ notice before your landlord can kick you out. The only time this doesn’t apply is when there’s been serious antisocial behaviour or behaviour which ‘threatens the fabric of the dwelling’ (try not to take sledgehammers to the walls, if you can).
Here’s a handy table from www.threshold.ie showing how much notice you are entitled to:
Less than 6 months
More than 6 months, Less than 1 year
More than 1 year, Less than 3 years.
More than 3 years, Less than 7 years
More than 7 years, Less than 8 years.
8 years or more
If you have been living in a rented house/apartment for at least six months, your landlord must provide grounds for termination (basically, the reason they are ending their agreement with you).
Once you have been living there 6 months, you join the existing lease agreement – which means you have the same rights as the housemate who has been living in the house the longest (see table above).
For more info about your legal rights, call Threshold’s free advice line on 1800 454 454 (Mon-Fri, 9AM-9PM) or have a look at the resources on their website: www.threshold.ie
HOMELESSNESS AND THE RISK OF HOMELESSNESS
If you or someone you know is at risk of getting kicked out of their accommodation, the two important things to do are to:
1. Get in contact with as many supports as possible
2. Know your rights
If you are a student who is homeless or at risk of losing your home, you should contact your Student Advisor as soon as you can. UCD has several student advisors, each representing students in a different study area. You can find and contact your student advisor here: https://www.ucd.ie/studentadvisers/about/staffprofiles/
You can contact the Accommodation Support Officer at email@example.com. They will be able to give you advice and point you in the right direction in trying to find accommodation and if you have issues with your landlord or tenancy.
If you believe the conditions of your accommodation are below living standards and are damaging your health and wellbeing, you can also contact the Welfare Officer in the student union to set up a meeting by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Welfare Officer can talk to you in person about emergency housing options, as well as how to manage the impact of homelessness on your studies.
Threshold is a charity which exists specifically to support people in Ireland who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes.
They run a free advice hotline, Monday to Friday 9.00am to 9.00pm.
You can call this line at 1800 454 454 or see their website here: https://www.threshold.ie/ for further information.