Irish students urged to take caution before signing accommodation contracts
The demand for accommodation is especially high at the moment as students prepare to return to third level education or attend college for the first time.
As such, Irish students are being encouraged to ensure that their new homes are safe before signing on the dotted line.
The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC), the organisation that represents the liquid fuel heating industry, has released a number of safety tips for those entering student accommodation.
Students are urged to take their smartphones to property viewings so that they may take photos for future reference and raise any problems with the landlord before agreeing to a contract.
If the house smells musty or evidence of mould is present, prospective tenants are advised to ensure that the landlord fixes the problem in the long term due to health risks.
Students should also thoroughly check appliances to make sure that they are in good working order. It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that appliances are operating safely when tenancy begins and are maintained throughout.
Check that both fire and carbon monoxide alarms are securely fitted and tested prior to signing any contract, and that working fire extinguishers have been put in place.
As for heating requirements, ask the landlord if the boiler has been serviced at least once a year as well-maintained boilers will save money due to being more energy efficient. A registered OFTEC technician can carry out an oil installation check if necessary.
Finally, student areas can prove vulnerable to burglars and break-ins. Students should insist that their potential home has been properly secured. Ask for key-operated window locks and working secure locks on external and internal doors.
Meanwhile, a warning has been issued over bogus letting agents operating online in an attempt to make money from those looking for accommodation in Dublin.
College students are particularly at risk from the scheme, with a number of such fraudsters preying on desperate students in the run-up to the start of the academic year.
The Property Services Regulatory Authority (PSRA) has said that these particular fake agents are purporting to use a PSRA licence number – a required figure used by all Irish letting agents, auctioneers, estate agents and management agents to provide a property service in Ireland.
Should you be in doubt as to whether a letting agent is licensed, you can contact the PSRA on 046-9033-800 or e-mail them at firstname.lastname@example.org.