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Select one of the frequently asked questions below to learn more about digs and renting accommodation.

Question about digs

What are digs?

Digs are a type of housing where a student stays in a family home with other  students and usually the homeowner and pays a flat rate for lodgings and board. The student is provided with breakfast, evening meal and a light supper. This ensures that the student gets proper meals during the day and is provided with a safe and secure “home-like” atmosphere unlike private renting.

These lodgings are perfectly suited and popular to first year students helping them to adapt from home to college. Digs are also popular with final year and postgraduate students who wish to devote maximum time to their studies. There are no extra bills as light and heat are included in your rent. Digs are typically lower in price than private renting and are perfect for students starting their studies in a new environment.

If you cannot find accommodation or you are not entirely ready to live independently, then you should try out digs. They are becoming a very common way to live for students while attending third level education. Lodgings/digs means renting a room in a family house. In digs you will be provided by the family, they are resonably priced as they usually include food and bills. So they are a good option if you’re nervous or if you like the little pleasures of having a clean house and being in a family home, then digs are for you. You can get a full list of digs on the USI website.

 

What’s expected of me as a student lodger?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that this arrangement involves living in someone’s home. This means being respectful of their belongings, their space, and their rules. You should respectfully adhere to agreed conditions on a range of subjects, including responsibilities for cleaning, consumption of alcohol and cigarettes, and hosting friends in your room. With all of that in mind, it would be a good idea to talk to your prospective hosts about what they expect of you – when everyone’s on the same page, fewer problems arise.

What types of arrangements exist for digs?

Lodgings/digs means renting a room in a family house. And meals may be provided by (maybe breakfast and dinner) by the family. This means that you don’t have to worry much about cooking and cleaning.

As opposed to other forms of accommodation, digs can vastly vary in terms, or conditions, which bind the tenant, and landlord into agreements. For some students, a dig may be seen as a temporary solution, until permanent accommodation may be found. But for others, especially first year students, digs may provide a suitable arrangement. If you’re very nervous about leaving home, this could be a good option for first year.

If you’re planning to party lots, this isn’t the best option. You’ll have to respect the family and not roll in singing at 3 am.

Digs may be provide under may different circumstances:

Duration:

  • 5 Day or 7 Day lodging
  • Full board or room only
  • Monthly / one semester / Full academic year

What's the typical rate for digs?

This rate will include your utility bills (heating, ESB, etc.) and may also include meals or even a lunch every day. If you are interested in staying in digs then shop around for good offers. The variation in pricing and what is included in your week’s rent is quite large.  Bills are usually included in the payment.

The cost of your accommodation will vary depending on the precise arrangement struck between you and your landlord. The location of the property will also be a factor.

As a lodger, you should expect to pay 60 per cent of the going rate for a room in the area, as well as an agreed contribution to the cost of utility bills and any meals that are provided as part of your agreement. Student rent costs in Dublin, excluding bills, can range between €400 and €600 per month depending on the location, but be mindful that your arrangement will be not quite the same as a private rental situation.

A rate of between €70 and €90 per week for the room only would represent an average price, with €40 to €50 per week for your meals and utilities contribution.
You should also consider the number of days per week you will be spending in the property. A lower cost per week is reasonable if your arrangement only allows you to spend five nights a week in the house.

Lodgings might be more expensive, but you won’t have to spend as much on food.

Although you should check all of this with your whoever you’re digging with.

Who do I contact if I have an issues using digs?

You should contact your local students’ union Welfare Officer as soon as possible if you feel you’re health, safety or privacy is in jeopardy. You can contact USI on 01 905 2095 if there is an issue with homes.usi.ie.

What if I'm having trouble creating a listing on homes.us.ie?

If you are having technical difficulty, or spot something wrong, then contact 01 905 2092 or info@usi.ie immediately and we will rectify the problem.

What questions should I ask before agreeing to lodge in a dig?

It’s important to ask a lot of questions, write a list before you view so you don’t forget any. Ask; is there rent in advance and rent, what other bills will I be paying, where is the closest supermarket, if necessary ask about parking for a care or bicycle, is it for 5 days or 7 days, can your stay be extended. There are features included in the listings on homes.usi.ie. Make note of what was listed on the dig and confirm that they are available or included in the price.

Do I have rights as a tenant?

No you do not. However, if you have concerns or queries you can contact your local students’  union Welfare Officer or USI on 01 905 2095.

Your right as a tenant come from the Residential Act 2004 there are some of your rights listed in the USI Finance & Accommodation Guide and in addition, the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 provide a number of other rights and protections.

Question about renting

Where will I find accommodation?

If you are moving away from home and you’re not sure where to look for accommodation, there are a few places you could go to for advice. Contact the Students’ Union in the college you will be attending, look up various websites such as daft.ie and the college website where you’ll find details about campus accommodation. The college could have an accommodation office or someone in student services who can advise you on accommodation in the area. You can also check out homes.usi.ie. Many homeowners rent a room in their home to students who study in the area. This type of accommodation is commonly referred to as Digs.

What should I check when I’m viewing accommodation?

Check that all appliances are working, check for dampness and/or don’t be afraid to look behind the wardrobe or flip the mattress, check all locks on windows and doors, request a key for your bedroom door.

What is the USI Finance & Accommodation Guide?

The USI Finance & Accommodation Guide is a useful source of information for students moving out of home and renting during college with checklists, tips, space to record inventory and space top keep a record of rent paid.

Where do I get my free copy of the USI Finance & Accommodation Guide?

A new version of the guide will be available in September. Please visit your local Students’ Union for your FREE copy or you can read the online copy on http://usi.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/A5-Web-version.pdf

What's a deposit?

A deposit is usually about one month’s rent. A deposit is used so a landlord has security in renting a property to a Tennant,  in case of damage or a breaking of a lease. It is quite common to hear complaints about landlords

And not giving back deposits at the end of the year , but there are ways in which you can make this doesn’t happen. This includes taking photos of the property when you start your lease, paying rent on time and keeping regular communication with your landlord. If you are having trouble with receiving your deposit back , you should go to the accommodation office or Students’ Union and they will advise you on what to do and what you can do. This could involve getting a solicitor’s letter or going to the private residential tenancies board (RTB).

 

The landlord must return promptly any deposit paid by the tenant. The deposit may be retained or deductions made where there are

1) Rent arrears or

2) Costs incurred to repair damage above normal wear and tear.

What is a lease?

A lease is a contract between you, your housemates and your landlord. You have to read your lease agreement very carefully.  The lease will outline conditions of your stay and will outline the rent, its due date and when the lease of the house will be terminated. If you plan to stay in the house for a certain amount of time, make sure that it is outlined in your agreement. Make sure that your lease is not in violation of your statutory rights, these cannot be annulled by contract but it’s best to make sure you get off on the right foot with your landlord. If you are unsure of anything, don’t understand something or don’t agree with something, contact your accommodation office or Students’ Union before you sign your lease.

What are references?

Some landlords may ask for a reference prior to signing a lease or asking for a deposit. This is very common as landlords can do a background check. Don’t worry if they ask you. A reference from a workplace and a reference landlord are the common references given. It is a good habit to ask for references after you leave a house, this will give you a portfolio of references so it will make you stand out if there is a competitiveness for a house or room in the future.

What about the condition of the house or dig?

Before signing a lease or making a decision on a house , remember to choose a house that you feel comfortable in. First, don’t settle for the first property you find, inspect it for dampness, mould, electrical faults, broken furniture or facilities or structural damage. Remember if the property is damp or cold in August, it will become wet and cold in the winter. Make sure that there is plenty of ventilation in the house also. Once you move in to your property make sure you take photos of the accommodation, take special note of anything that you consider damaged or broken. If you can time and date your photos that’s even better and make sure to have multiple copies. This will come in handy if you have trouble with your landlord later on and it is a good habit to get into for future years. If items are damaged or broken , voice them to your landlord sooner rather than later, the repairs will take less time and will avoid prolonged damage, which may make things difficult when getting a deposit back.

What are rent books?

Your landlord must fill out a rent book if you require him or her to. You can get your rent book from your welfare officer, accommodation office or you can request a rent book from your landlord. You can use your rent book to prove payments if any issues surface later. Keeping a rent book that is signed by your landlord monthly ensures better protection when asking for your deposit when leaving your tenancy.

What about privacy?

When you rent a property from a private landlord, while they may own the property, it is your home. During your tenancy the landlord has an obligation to ensure you have peaceful occupation of the property. What this means Your landlord must notify you if they wish to inspect the property in general or your own bedroom. This is a right that is often broken. If this happens to you make a formal complaint in writing to your landlord and keep a copy. Then, contact the accommodation office for more advice. A landlord must give  usually 24 hour notice if they are to inspect or come into your house. There is no legalities of time given which is often the common perception, but an official agreement from both parties must be agreed through communication.

What about my safety?

Your landlord is legally obliged to ensure your safety in the property and must provide a fire extinguisher and alarms. Make sure alarms are working when arriving in the house and batteries are often changed, this may save a life or save that frozen pizza.

What is RTB and Threshold?

RTB are the Private Residential Tenancy Board, established as part of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants and to operate a system of tenancy registration. Landlords and tenants may refer disputes to the RTB for resolution.

For more information please visit www.prtb.ie

Threshold, National Housing Charity is based in Cork, Dublin and Galway and advises people on their housing rights. As a student, you can contact Threshold for any advice you need on housing rights on theirwebsite or by contacting via telephone:

  • Cork  021 4278848
  • Dublin 01 890 334 334
  • Galway 091 563080

For more information please visit www.threshold.ie.

If your question does not appear on the list above, please use the contact form to get in touch with us.

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