Whether you are weighing up CAO offers and have your hopes set on moving out or you are a few years into your academic journey and need to make a move, you are sure to have heard A LOT about the accommodation crisis, rental price rises and limited options in the past few weeks or months. This is a story that arises each year yet 2016 comes with tougher facts and figures. Daft.ie's recent rental reports have revealed ,year on year, that rent has risen in cities, and student towns around the country...... but don't give up and don't fret! With careful research and planning you'll find your spot- just be ahead of the game
You hear stories about people changing their course because they can't live there, about substandard accommodations offered, or impossible budget struggles; all of which can seriously dampen your spirit at what should be an optimistic time of change! That's why we want to focus on what IS possible, offer tips to try work around the rental challenge, and offer some proactive info points to contact in your search for a place to rest your weary head after a day of cerebral acrobatics. Keep the chin up and read on.
1) Get in touch with the right people.
First off! Talk to all of your friends and family- You never know what tips or leads they might come up with.
Gloom always dominates the head-lines and statistics can leave out the good news stories. There is still hope. Asking around the office here, many of us were left saddened when first applying for on campus accommodation, only to find that the waiting list isn't just a conceptual way to say 'no room at the Inn'. It seems obvious, but make sure you have contacted the Accommodations Office of your college if you want to stay on campus. The waiting list may not be that long, and people's circumstances change all the time. If you are not in you can't win.
The efficacious Accommodation Officer is not only there to look after campus availability. They can also be key in pointing you in the right direction, putting you in touch with local landlords and giving advise on the market in the local area. They won't be able to hold your hand (they don't get commission!!) but approach them nicely, be flexible, and they might just help put you on to a winner. Check out how helpful CIT's accommodation page is for example. Most try to be as helpful as they can and are invaluable when you are stressing about all the other things you need to get sorted out in the next few weeks.
2) Be active in your search- daily!
The rental market is ever changing and renter's pounce quickly. Know the best online searches for your location. Register for updates on your preferences and check it everyday...twice a day! Be ready to view at the drop of a hat and have your references, finances and game-face in order! Check out our list of search links at the end of this article to see if one might help you in your search..
3) Can you widen your preferences?
You may have always had your own room since you were born. You might not want to share with people you've never met. You may think on-campus 'or nothing!'. But think about it, in tough times you've got to be flexible and opening your search might open up experiences and chances to meet people you'll end up friends for life with. Your best friend from school might be messy and a snorer BUT that new housemate might be the best person ever to share a tub of Ben and Jerry's and watch bad TV with. Point being...you never know. Sharing a room might make you a new best friend....or it might make you appreciate your own space even more down the line. It's all just temporary; a base for you to study, experience college life and move forward. As long as it's safe, clean (enough!), affordable and you can be yourself, you should let it be an option. Do go with your gut, but try be optimistic!
4) Consider digs, or non Student-options.
Many people are now renting out rooms to help with their own bills meaning a wide variety of options that you may not have considered before. Living in someone else's home might not be what you had in mind but it can be a home away from home. A good break from the mayhem of freshers week and a little bit of peace perhaps? Some places also supply meals or allow you to pay for 5days if you go home at the weekend. These can be self-catering too. Scour your area and talk to people who have done this before. It can feel like a nice stepping stone before going completely out on your own.
5) Compromise on your commute?
Okay, you are heading to Maynooth so you should live in Maynooth right? Again though, Maynooth is all about students come term-time and the competition for a college home is rife. Why not look into somewhere with good, regular bus routes that mean you have a commute that you can make work for you. Leixlip, Celbridge, Lucan and even places along the Dart such as Clonsilla might be doable? Consider the train journey as good reading time to build up references for that looming paper. Or if you are 20mins away you might want to cycle on good days to squeeze exercise into your busy routines and help keep in the mind and body in shape. Living between Dublin city and your college can also up up your opportunities for weekend work... and nights out!
6) Remember it's not for life!
We know, it's hard to settle or lower your standards but remember, you are not investing in this house, right now you are investing in your future. You may not have your gleaming mansion today but you will have the experience that comes with shared digs, new housemates. Even small rooms can be decorated to feel like your own little haven for a short time. And if it's not too comfy you might be less likely to take a duvet day and miss that important lecture!
We wish you all the best with your search and that wherever you find is a great base to pit-stop, make friends and have a great college year.
And don't forget, even if your place to stay works out to be more expensive than you'd hoped, you can keep saving in lots of ways with your Student Leap Card all year around.
Some Useful Search Links
www.trovit.ie Good for alerts and house-share advertising
www.daft.ie Well known and trusted. Has the advantage of setting up auto-searches
www.gumtree.ie Good for house sharing lisings
www.collegecribs.ie Great for advanced search nearby your college.
www.myhome.ie or www.rent.ie General searches for rooms to rent
www.boards.ie Has specific threads with advice for 1st years looking for housing
www.getdigs.ie Matching lodgers with homeowners
USI Homes for Study search engine.
www.StudentHousing.ie Dublin only focus.