This past academic year, I was fortunate enough to live in Trinity Hall in Rathmines. This coming autumn I will be living in a house with four of my friends. The biggest differences: rent, electricity, gas, and the oh-so-precious wifi. I am really looking forward to the exciting changes that come with living independently, but I am also very aware of the challenges my housemates and I are going to face.
In Trinity Hall, we had several large payments to make throughout the year, with the utilities charge included. We were notified through messages on MyTCD, and the due dates for these payments were flexible. This year, our mail box will be filled each month with letters telling us how much we owe and when (and those dates are anything but flexible).
I’m in charge of electricity and have auto-pay set up, which means no missed payments. However, I have to trust my housemates to send me their share of the electricity bill. If they don’t send in their money then the electricity payment, while automatic, will bounce, and that could hurt my credit score years from now when I’m looking for an apartment after college. One of the biggest things to be sure of when moving in with anyone, whether they be friends or strangers, is that you all trust each other, and that you agree on a system of payments ahead of time.
Another challenge that comes with private accommodation is that landlords can take advantage of college students. We almost signed a lease on a house, but after being told they wanted the deposit in cash and doing some more research on the company, we found out that they are unreliable and known to ignore their tenants when the house is in need of repair; we backed out. There are unreliable landlords out there who know how to lure in and rip off unsuspecting students. It is so important to be aware of tenants’ rights and to do research on the person or company from whom you will be renting.
This year we will be living in a residential area, surrounded not by students but by families. So noise made past 9pm will not be appreciated and complaints to the landlord are a definite possibility. With private accommodation comes the responsibility of being respectful of neighbours with reasonable bedtimes and work the next day, ruling out loud house parties every night.
So, am I ready for a year living in a house with four friends and Tesco around the corner? Yes. Am I ready to jump into the world of bills and landlords? Debatable. Either way, I’m looking forward to taking that extra bit of responsibility and seeing how I fare. Wish me luck!