This week, at the request of my landlord, I provide some pointers for people looking to rent a room/share a house. I know he reads this blog from time to time so here you go Len.
I have been sharing a house in Dublin city centre for just over 12 months now and based on anecdotal evidence and my own experience of searching for a room, I think I am in a position to give the benefit of my experience.
While there are some general points to be aware of, it’s important to trust your gut feeling and instincts. At the end of the day, you want to get a good vibe from your new housemates. A house can become very small if you are unfortunate to live with a douche or someone who steals your onions, Len knows what I mean.
Budget: As with renting, be aware of your budget and allow for new outgoings so give yourself some leeway.
The Priorities: Before you view anywhere decide what you are looking for. You won’t get everything you want and because you are going to be living with others you will need to be flexible and prioritise what is of real importance. In terms of searching for a room, have a look at Daft.ie and Rent.ie.
The Essentials: I would strongly advise that you travel light i.e. clothes and whatever tech, sports gear you need. Depending on the space, the chances are you will need to fit all your worldly possessions in to one room. You will also need to move out at some point so minimise the workload for yourself.
The Viewing: See below some general points and possible questions to ask once somewhere has caught your eye:
- What is included in the room? i.e. storage space, can furniture be moved in or removed? For example, a former housemate of mine hung his paintings and moved in his potted plants, he had pretty good taste but had a fierce amount of work when he was moving out.
- Do you need to provide a deposit? On this point, remember that if you pay a deposit you will need to get someone in to replace you when you are moving out to cover the cost. Otherwise you will be out of pocket.
- What are the shared facilities like? Are there 7 lads sharing one bathroom?
- What cupboard, fridge and freezer space is there? You will find some people are very particular about this.
- What are the typical household running costs? See the point concerning budget.
- Is there a cleaning rota etc. and how will you be expected to contribute? A helpful question if you don’t like cleaning toilets.
- Is the house busy? Better you find out about the weekly prayer meeting in the living room before you move in.
- Find out what your prospective housemates do for a living. This is an important one as it will give you an insight in to their personalities, lifestyle and general movements
- Get a sense of the household schedule i.e. what time people go to work at etc. It’s essential when planning what time you need to shower at, cook etc.
- Does the landlord live in the house? This can be a double edged sword depending on what you are after. You have more freedom depending on the individual if they are absent but on the other hand you may never be able to get anything fixed if there is an issue. Also, Landlords are human too so they might be good company. Don’t judge.
Be Flexible: Like searching for somewhere to rent, looking for a room can be stressful so make sure you keep an open mind. Be open and approachable when viewing and remember you are being interviewed. Your prospective housemates will want to ensure you won’t upset the existing balance of the house. One final point, be prepared to adjust your schedule to account for other people and be conscious of your new BFFs.