With the Leaving Cert results just released, and with the CAD offerings just around the corner, student housing is fast becoming a hot item.
In the rush to find accommodation for the next academic year, OFTEC, which represents the liquid fuels industry in Ireland, has published safety advice.
OFTEC Ireland Director David Blevings said: “Very often the excitement of moving in with friends can eclipse concerns about the accommodation itself. We urge students to play it safe this year and complete these essential checks before signing a lease and moving in. “
“Asking a homeowner about safety might sound awkward, but it could prevent you from living in a potentially dangerous property for the next 12 months. It is essential that your new home is not a burden when you start your university studies.
With that in mind, here are the five safety tips new renters should watch out for before signing a rental agreement.
Sound the alarm
Homeowners should ensure their property is equipped with a fire detection system and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
If you’re not sure the property owns them, be sure to discuss them with the owner. If the boiler is not properly installed and maintained, it can produce carbon monoxide, a deadly substance that has no taste, smell or color.
Without a working carbon monoxide alarm, it is impossible to identify carbon monoxide leaks.
With temperatures dropping week by week, it is important that any potential home has adequate heating. All boilers should be serviced annually and tenants should look for proof of the most recent servicing.
Ask the owner for “a CD / 12 proprietary oil installation check which is performed by an authorized OFTEC technician”, to have peace of mind.
If the property is gas heated, request a copy of the annual gas check.
Look for humidity
Humidity may not seem like a serious problem, but it can cause serious breathing problems for those who live with it. It is not difficult for a homeowner to hide moisture by simply painting on it.
If the unit smells musty or if there are traces of mold, ask the landlord how and when it will be repaired.
Furniture and fittings
Ask the owner for all furniture and accessories included and note any damage before deciding to move anything. Make sure beds, sofas and the like are in good condition.
Secure your home
Student accommodation can be an easy target for burglars due to lax security. Have the homeowner install keyed locks on windows and locks on exterior doors.
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