The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) is encouraging students in the coming academic year to be aware of their rights as renters.
The statutory body regulating renting in Ireland has issued a five-point “student rental checklist” ahead of third-level institutions reopening in September.
First, the RTB says renters should never pay a deposit or sign an agreement before viewing a property, and ideally multiple properties to allow for comparison.
Second, the RTB is reminding students that there are minimum standards and requirements for rental properties, such as the availability of hot and cold water and that they should ensure any accommodation advertised meets those standards.
Third, renters should always get a dated receipt when putting down a deposit for a rental. The RTB notes that it is not legal to ask for more than one month’s rent as a deposit.
It’s also not permissible for tenants to be required to pay more than one month’s rent in advance, the RTB says.
Fourth, the organisation is encouraging everyone to be aware of rent pressure zones (RPZs), which are areas in which rent can not be increased at a rate greater than that of inflation.
The RTB has an RPZ calculator which allows people to see if their accommodation is in such a zone, see how much the rent was for the previous tenant, and verify they’re not being overcharged.
Finally, the regulatory body says students should stay informed of their rights as tenants via the RTB website and to get in contact if they have any questions.
Emer Morrissey, the organisation’s interim head of dispute resolution, notes that for first and second year students in particular, “moving away from home and into a new city or town for the first time can be daunting”.
“Our checklist is a quick and easy way for you to be as prepared as possible coming into the new school year” she continued.
“From experience, the RTB knows students might feel overwhelmed when finding a new home and we’re here to help.”
All standard private rental accommodation falls under the remit of the RTB. Since 2019, “student-specific accommodation”, including on-campus housing and private, purpose-built student housing, is also within the organisation’s jurisdiction.
However, short-term letting, digs, and “rent a room” schemes are not regulated by the RTB.
Earlier this month, an Garda Síochána warned students against the prevalence of accomodation fraud schemes, particularly in Dublin.
In Analysis, Sarah Emerson notes that despite statutory protections including RPZs, accommodation remains extremely expensive for large numbers of people.