Right, I shall be a proper tenant for the first time pretty soon, and have no idea what to look for, and obviously there will be others in the same boat from time to time.
Basically, I want to create a checklist that I can bring around with me when I go to look at places, so I can compare places and to force me to ask the right questions, instead of getting glossy-eyed at the remotely good view.
So you suggestions are much appreciated.
To get the ball rolling, I've found a few good resources....
Give me help people!
Beware of Dubliners. Why did they move out of Mammy's house?
Only rent what you can afford. One rule of thumb would be a maximum of nett pay (one quarter of gross pay).
Get a rent book or lease.
If you are likely to be staying for only a short time, explain this to your landlord. If you sign a one-year lease, the landlord can hold you to it.
does rent includes bills? If not, what is in/out?
Either all the bills are in one person's name or everyone has a bill in their name. No bill should have two peoples names.
Washing machine. Microwave.
Check bathroom conditon. Look for broken fittings, mould, etc.
Ensure premises is secure.
What is the area like at night / weekends?
Transport options (including Nitelinks).
Local services - shops, post office, bank doctor, dentist.
Phones / internet.
TV / video / cable / satellite.
I don't care if the double-glazed windows look like they were put in the day before, check for draughts!! They'll assassinate your heating costs.
Make sure that there's more than one electrical socket in your room. Multiple adapters aren't quite the scare story they used to be, but I'm wary of them all the same 
Immersion heaters for showers, in this day and age, are the work of lazy-ass landlords and Beezlebub. Go leccy!
Make sure the walls aren't paper-thin i.e. you don't want to hear your housemate giving it loads to some byore on a weeknight, now do you?
On the same note, NEVER MOVE IN WITH A COUPLE!! If there's a split / serious fight, at the very least you'll be caught in the middle, at worst you'll have to cover the cost of the departee. Speaking from experience on this one
Make sure the hobs work.
Unless it's a major requirement, I'd avoid having a landline. Temptation's a bast.
Confirm that the shower door keeps the water in. Wee against it to make sure.
Make sure that the fridge can hold at least 6 cans in the door alone. This is vital. Keep your head.
Best of luck seamus...and may God have mersy on your soul!
Jeez I wish I'd something like that before I moved into the place I'm in now..
If I were you Seamus, I'd make mental notes, rather than carry something like that around with you, otherwise you'll look a bit mental
Something I discovered - Check to see to what extent cupboards are shared. If you all share the same cupboards, others will eat your food. Others will not replace your food. In fact this is something you must bear in mind at all times. Likewise, shelves in the fridge. If they're shared, others will eat your food. Others will not replace your food.
Conition of pots and pans, says a lot about the tenants. As do stains on countertops/couches etc.. bearing in mind, when you visit, it's probably going to be cleaner than it usually is!
I probably sound a bit anal, but trust me, these things will get to you in time..
Best of luck.
PS - Fireplaces can cause draughts.
PPS - Others will eat and not replace your food.
If an ad for shared accommodation doesn't specify don't forget to check if it is a smoking or non-smoking household (unless it doesn't bother you one way or the other).
If you are considering sharing with the house owner (especially if you will be the only tenant) I would ask about their views on guests, use of household facilities (washing machine, phone etc.) and whether they are ok with you being around at weekends. The vast majority will be probably ok with the above, but I've had the misfortune of living with one who wasn't-and I didn't find out until I moved in.
Alas I also found out that the heating didn't automatically come on in the mornings-there was a switch in her bedroom and she usually got up several hours after me-so that would be another thing to check.
I know from years in the scouts that findign somebody who's 'compatible' to share a living space with is close to impossible.
Avoid any landline. Especially if shared with women. Just stick to your mobile.
I've always shared with people I knew previously, and I've never had many problems. But people are always different when you are sharing living space. Have a good long think about what a particular person will be like to live with. Are they fussy over tidyness, what are they like with money, cleaning, sharing food. Will they be reasonable over sharing bills. How anal are you about the above?
I've never shared with strangers. If you do make sure you always have a lock on your door. They might be nice people but they will get curious and have a root around your room if the door is open and you're away.
Check the surrounding area before you decide to move in. You might think that the gaff is perfect because its right beside your bus stop to work. But you need to think about what else it is near. Supermarket, dry cleaners, video shop, nitelinks, a nice local pub, etc.
If you find a nice plae with people already there who have one free room, make sure you quiz them on everything thats important to you. Don't think "nice gaff, I want it" and not think about the people you're sharing with.
Are there any couples? how many people total? any students? what do the people work at (late nights or 9-5)? are they party animals? smokers? etc.
If its a very nice place and the people seem nice then get some references from previous landlords or people you've shared with.
I'm thinking of the rental market for myself next year and what you've said interests me, is it a buyers market like that? you can take your time, get references, contemplate etc. I know you don't want to end up in the wrong place but can you afford to take your time or can you afford not to take your time even if it means losing the occasional place?
I think the preferred tenant for landlords/people letting is single white female, non-smoking, professional, quiet. No harm if she's from the country, goes home to Galway every weekend, and has no friends in Dublin (if thats where the property is).
References may get you an edge over other people when there's lots of people trying to get the apartment/whatever.
When you move into a new place. The minute you get in, go around and take pictures - with a time/date stamp - of any damge such as broken tiles, or cracked tiles or windows. Cracked bath/sink etc. If the cooker is a hob job, turn on all 4 rings and make sure they light. Take a picture. Any stains on the carpet. Rising damp. Cracks in the ceiling. Broken radiator knob/turny on things. Take a picture. Take pictures of absolutely everything that could possibly be questioned. You get the idea.
Most decent landlords/estate agents should have an inventory for you to check and sign. If they don't make one up yourself and have them sign it as well.
If me and a mate did this when we moved into our first gaff, we would've gotten our deposit back. The satanic bítch of a land lady claimed we'd done numerous things we didn't.
We did this when we moved into our second place, and got our deposit back. Although there was no need to produce the photos.
Don't forget to facor in waste charges if you're in an apartment block.
That's all I can think of.
Are there security grilles on windows (not permitted on bedroom windows)? Why?
Safe parking / storage.
/me lights a match...
/me dribbles petrol throught the floor boards to your flat.
Excellent points - this might sound rather harsh thing to do, but my mate now is being tortured by his prev landlord asking him to pay the bills for new carpet and for the washing machine repairs that landlord paid for earlier during his stay there.
My mate finished his one year contract at that place and decided to move on, but landlord wouldn’t return the one month rent deposit (1200 yo yos) and on top of that he is asking my mate to pay to him for new carpet, new bed/set and for a washing machine repair – In fact, when he moved in, there were no bed linen, quilts or what so ever in the apartment, washing machine was fixed two months after my mate complained its totally not working, and the contract clearly says landlord will fix or replace the appliances if broken down!
They both have their solicitor doing all the talking now – looks like it’s going to get dirty.
for more than 3 people, the size of the kitchen counts a lot...
you may be waiting for a while to use much needed facilities, think of 8 people trying to use a kitchen the size of a small bath room
a dryer is a much over looked convienience (sp?)