One of the most exciting things for 6th year students is the opportunity to move out of your home and start living independently - hooray! However, for university first-timers, finding the right student accommodation might be a daunting task. Universities are reporting that their halls of residence are being booked up very quickly by existing students, leaving little rooms available to new students. Competition in the rental market is at an all time high, but all is not lost! Read our guest blog below by Aisling from SwitchingRooms.ie, where she gives her top tips on looking for college accommodation.
What are my options?
On-Campus Accommodation is available for many universities in Ireland. Head to the main website of the university or college you're hoping to attend and find their accommodation section, which should have all the details on how to apply. It's generally the more expensive options but it's very comfortable and you have all utilities like WiFi, waste disposal, heating etc. included. Applications usually start early, so make sure to plan ahead!
Off-campus house-share is a common option usually for 2nd year students onwards, but it's still available for 1st years! It involves living in a rented house or flat organised independently of the college and you pay a landlord. Utilities are not always included. The college administration or accommodation services can usually help with acquiring numbers of landlords, so we recommend checking out the college's website to find contact information for the accommodation services.
Digs.ie is a service is based on the oldstyle digs, basically renting a room in a house Monday to Friday, drawbacks are that the rent is extremely high and unafforable for many.
Eldershare.ie is new to the Irish scene, Eldershare promotes living with an old person , paying a reduced rent and in return for reduction, light housework and/or company where home help is required.
Switchingrooms.ie is a recently launched startup which provide a completely a free room exchange option, students can directly swap rooms with each other, and also agree to provide meals , wifi etc as a means to make further savings, basically rent free digs. Start in January to advertise the dates you estimate will be required in the coming September.
Facebook groups have rental properties available. They can be suitable yet prices vary and they are unrestricted with no protection against price hikes. There are houses and rooms to rent, but it's advised that your search should tentatively begin in January rather than leaving it to exam results time. You also need to be careful of scams on Facebook and don't transfer any money unless you're certain of the accommodation's legitimacy.
Important things to think about before looking for a place to stay:
For those that are just getting started, here are few pointers and tips as to what to look for when searching for suitable accommodation for students in Ireland:
It's important to know your budget before you start looking. How much are you willing to spend? Costs of rent average out at about 10,000 Euros per year, though an application for the Susi grant and part time work can help you cover costs. Once you have come up with the most suitable maximum, you can then start looking for a room that suits. Rule of thumb is “always stick to your budget”. Your room will be a large part of your monthly costs, so this step is critical if you want to have extra cash for the rest of your activities!
Location, Location, Location!
For many university and college students, living near their college to avoid the hassle of having to wake up early to make it to class on time is a big plus. Therefore, location is a critical factor to have in mind when searching for a student room. We recommend you narrow your search to a specific place in the city. Costs for transport must be taken into account too sometimes. Some students have resorted to commuting, which isn't ideal, and costs must be taken into account. How close to college would you like to stay? Remember the closer you are, the more convenient it will be for you - and we all want an easy life don't we? Plus let's not forget your social life, because that's super important too. What fun places are nearby?
Everyone has particular must-haves when choosing the accommodation to suit your needs. You definitely want a place where you can negotiate different packages. This is the reason why many students nowadays prefer off-campus accommodation. Apart from being able to negotiate for rent reduction, you can go for extra features like free and fast internet connection, private bathroom, shared kitchen with private lockable storage and several other options. Do your research and you will likely find an exact match to your needs.
When searching for accommodation, start the search early. Do not leave this to the last minute folks! Research online as much as possible, get the word out, and ensure you check out how close the alternatives are to your college. Consider a service like Switching Rooms, a brilliant, cheap and safe option where you can easily swap your homeroom for a suitable student accommodation in Dublin and other main locations.
We hope you find these tips useful to help plan and budget correctly, and live within your means. Cheers!
A note on the author:
Aisling Byrne is the CEO of Switching Rooms, who offer a supremely easy room swap system. Our members save money, time and reduce stress. You can agree your own terms and will potentially eliminate all the costs associated with living away from home. Unlike Digs, no money is exchanged, and students and families can agree to provide each other with meals, wifi, laundry facilities, and all the other home comforts. You will not have to pay out risky deposits, or join lengthy queues to view high demand, substandard and expensive rooms. If you were considering deferring due to exorbitant costs, you can now take control and swap your own room. Students travelling to another country can arrange accommodation from their own home safe in the knowledge that they have secured accommodation at no extra cost, and their old room will be there to move back into on their return. This service is currently completely free for new members signing up. Check it out at www.switchingrooms.ie.