Searching for a new house or apartment to rent can be quite tricky, particularly in major urban centres or cities. In Dublin, for example, there’s a lot of competition for free spots, with the average property in Ireland’s capital costing €1,741 per month to rent.
But there are other things to consider during your rental search, such as the condition of the place, what you’re getting for your money, and plenty more besides.
Narrow the search
Where you look will depend on where you work, so be sure to review possible routes on Google Maps to narrow the search, or take a drive around the area at the weekend, noting the quickest routes or public transport services.
As a rule of thumb you should be spending around 30% of your income on housing and bills (not always easy by any means), so keep that in mind when searching through Daft. Other things to consider include safety and security in the area, what facilities you’ll need (two or three bedrooms, a shed, parking space, room for pets etc.), and amenities in the area.
Watch out for scams, which tend to spike as third level students begin the hunt for a home, according to An Garda Síochána. “The scams fall into three broad categories; (1) the scammer claims to be out of the country and can’t show you the property and requests a deposit, (2) the scammer is living at the property and shows a number of people around, gets a deposit from several people and disappears with the money; and (3) the transaction appears normal until the renter finds that the keys don’t work and the landlord has disappeared,” they warn.
Make sure the landlord or letting agent is who they say they are, rent through recognised agencies where possible, ask for ID and make sure they keys provided fit the door before you pay your deposit.
Always make a thorough inspection during the viewing, looking for signs of damp or mould, whether there are smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and fire extinguishers, security features, and that all appliances are working correctly. The property should meet the minimum standards as outlined in the relevant legislation.
Double check what comes as part of the package, including broadband, heating, electricity, bins etc. If there’s a parking space, make sure you get written confirmation from the landlord or agent.
Before you move in, take a few photographs of your new home, documenting each room and any damage in particular. If you can, date them. They could come in handy should you be blamed for pre-existing damage when you move out (as will a detailed inventory signed by you and the landlord beforehand).
You don’t have to sign a lease but if you do, always review the contents before you sign, looking for your obligations regarding pets, making rental payments, noise levels, maintenance and repairs, subletting and the changes you can make. A second opinion is recommended.
Know your rights
Many people are unaware of their rights with it comes to renting private accommodation, so make sure you’re up to date with the relevant legislation. Threshold, a charity that campaigns for suitable housing and provides advisory and advocacy services, offers a handy breakdown of your rights throughout the renting process, and you can freephone them on 1800 454 454.