First-Time Renters: What To Know Before You Rent

Move-In Day: HomeHaks Top Tips On Ways To Help Your New Tenants

Moving out of home is one of the biggest life changes you’ll ever experience. It’s stressful, exciting and can be overwhelming at times.


First-Time Renters: What To Know Before You Rent
Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

We’ve all heard horror stories about first time renters making mistakes that cost them dearly. Whether it’s not having a good understanding of your rights as a tenant or falling prey to scam rental advertisers looking to make a quick buck, there are plenty of pitfalls waiting for you!


That’s where our tips come in handy. Moving out involves a lot of organisation, especially for first-time renters. We will walk you through everything from finding the right place to live, how to manage finances and what to watch out for when signing a contract.



Location, location. Where you want to live, work, or study has a big impact on your location preferences for the rental search process.


When thinking about where to live, don’t just focus on the things you need in an apartment or house; think about what’s around too and how that may impact your commute time. Is there public transportation or cycle routes nearby? How far away are the supermarkets and services? What kind of gym options do locals have at their disposal? These are important questions since they can totally change how much fun living there would be day after day!

Rent Cost

You may already have an idea of how much you would like to spend on rent. There is a general rule of thumb to spend 30% of your annual income on rent. That said, it’s not entirely applicable to everyone. For example, someone who earns €100,000 may not want to spend €30,000 on their rent. Similarly, if you are on a lower salary it might not be feasible to put 30% of that towards rent.


Analyse your financial situation for starters, and ask yourself what you can afford. It also doesn’t hurt to compare rent prices with your friends. See what they put towards rent and use that as a guide!



When preparing to rent for the first time, it’s important to embrace the concept of budgeting ASAP. It’s unavoidable, but in the long run it’s the best thing we can do to feel financially secure! Setting up a budget is essential for any tenant. Make a list of monthly expenses/regular bills and set aside a personal allowance.


This may be the first time that you’re paying the bills yourself, so it’s important to know what they will cost ahead of time to save yourself any worry. Using a rent/ budget calculator is a great way to start figuring out your expenses.


Gas, Electricity and Bin Collection

Gas/electricity should come as no surprise since these things exist in every home. Depending on the setup, you may need to register the bin collection unless the landlord has done it for you.


If you have no idea what the bills are going to be like, try getting an estimate on sites like which compares different suppliers’ rates. These utilities are then shared between all housemates in the house, sometimes monthly or every other month. You can also ask your friends/family what they usually



Other necessities may include broadband internet service, especially if you’re now working from home! Sometimes broadband may require installation at an additional fee depending on the supplier and/or location restrictions. When choosing how much broadband you’ll need, take into account how many people will be using it.


Some areas cannot support every provider, which may affect your budget plan. Talk this over with your landlord if possible – they might already know about some hidden costs or previous issues!

Reading the Contract

You may be racing to put your name on the dotted line, but it’s essential that you read through your contract carefully before signing anything. One thing to keep an eye out for is what type of tenancy agreement you are committing to. It will normally be a fixed-term tenancy or a periodic tenancy.


Fixed-term, as the name suggests, refers to a fixed period usually about 6-12 months minimum. A periodic tenancy does not have a fixed length of time. There is lots of information about these agreements which can be read about in detail here.

First-Time Renters: What To Know Before You Rent
Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash


In Ireland, all private residential properties must be registered with the RTB. The Residential Tenancies Board provides a dispute resolution service to protect both landlords and tenants. They provide “high-quality information and assistance to the public, tenants and landlords on their rights and responsibilities“. It’s advised that first-time renters check that their property has been registered so that your rights are protected.


Pet Policies

Depending on the property, it may or may not be permitted to bring pets on site. If you don’t come across any explicit pet policies, just ask the landlord what their feelings are about it!


Applying Without a Rental History

Don’t let a lack of a rental history hold you back. Everyone has to start out somewhere! First-time renters can still include character references as part of their application. This helps to establish how reliable you are, and how you will treat another person’s property!


Find references from people willing to vouch for you such as previous employers, colleagues, even school principals! The idea is to find someone who knows you well and will speak highly of you.


HomeHak Services for first-time renters

Moving out for first-time renters is an exciting adventure, and soon you’ll be obsessing over how to decorate and fill it to make it your own. With a bit of self-determination and positive action you will absolutely find something you love! To do this you just need to express to the landlord that you would be the perfect tenant, i.e., someone reliable, responsible, and punctual.


Homehak, a tool for tenants and landlords alike, is a great way to express these traits. With Homehak’s help you can create a Tenant CV that contains all the information a landlord would ever need from you, so they don’t have to search around themselves or get short on time. This makes life easier not only for landlords but also applicants who are trying their best to impress them!

Balancing a Job and Study at University

Girl working as a waitress

Balancing a job and university can be tough. HomeHak has put together some tips on how to get the formula right! We will help you work out how you can take on part-time work to pay the bills, whilst still gunning for that top class university grade.


Figure out whether you really need a part-time job

For the majority of us, the answer to this will be a resounding “yes!”. Particularly seeing the costs of living! The key is to first work out a monthly budget. Have a close look at all your incomings and outgoings. 


Don’t over-commit to shifts

When balancing your job, how many hours you choose to work each week depends. Firstly, on how much you feel you’re ready to take on. Secondly how much free time your course permits. Most universities recommend not to take on more than 15 hours per week. The important thing is to take some time to consider how much time you’re able to put in before making any commitments – it’s a lot harder to go back once you’ve given your word, so don’t rush this decision.

Boy working in a pub
Photo by Elevate on Unsplash


Know when exams and deadlines are coming up

Being seriously organised with your calendar is the key. Make sure you know all the important dates coming up in your course calendar, such as assignment deadlines and exam dates so that you can easily see your busy periods and plan accordingly. If you can highlight important deadline periods in advance, you can ask to take time off or swap shifts with other people. 


Use your time productively

One of the best things about taking on part-time work during university is that it puts you in a situation where you’re pretty much forced into becoming super productive with your time. The psychology of knowing you only have a couple of hours before your shift starts to make some serious progress writing an essay will force you to really focus and use those couple of hours wisely. 


Talk to your university and employer if you’re struggling

The easiest way to really upset that work/uni balance is by letting things get on top of you if you’re struggling. Juggling a job when you’re studying for a degree is no walk in the park, and your employers and tutors should try to respect that. Remember to reach out for support if you’re ever finding things difficult – the minute you notice any problems with your timetable or if you’re struggling with the workload, tell someone.


Get enough sleep

Getting the recommended eight hours a night of shut-eye is vital. If you don’t, you’ll soon notice everything starts to slip. We know that there’ll be nights where this will go amiss, but make sure it doesn’t happen more than a couple of times a week.


To summarise

As we have seen from above, when balancing a job, there are a number of factors to be considered. Is having a job really necessary. Do not over commit to shifts. Know when your exams and deadlines are. Use your time productively. Let your lecturers or boss know if you are struggling. Finally, get enough sleep. We hope you got some value off HomeHaks top tips for balancing a job in univeristy.

Here is another article on finding a balance in university:

Improving the Balance between School, Work and Social Life

Young people jumping and smiling

Improving the work-life balance is as difficult thing to achieve. Most of us know what a poor work-life balance feels like. But we’re not sure how to break free of it. Want to perfect your work-life balance? This will allow you to figure out what kind of balance you need. Build sustainable habits to support your lifestyle. Additionally, advocate for yourself at work.


Here are HomeHak’s best tips for improving the balance.


1. Create a schedule that works

Start by identifying your available time and prioritise your tasks.To avoid being overwhelmed and cramming at the last minute, set personal deadlines at a much earlier date to the defined deadline. Keep a diary that can help you keep track of your activities! 

Timetable and coffee
Photo by Estee Janssens on Unplash

2. Do Not Procrastinate

As a student, procrastination is likely to get a hold of us and become our best friend. We know what we should be doing but we keep posting or binge watching TV shows. We recommend getting your space organised, set achievable goals and try as much as possible to avoid distractions. Remind yourself of the repercussions if you put off doing your tasks. It is easier to get more things done if you stay disciplined. 


3. Less of Social Media for improving the balance

Too much social media can cost us more than just time. Set up screen time on your phone that locks your applications whenever you exhaust the allocated time for that day. Freedom and Moment are some apps that can help manage how long you spend on your phone. 


4. Take time for a quality rest

This is very important. It is ok to take time off and get relaxed. Our brains are like computers and we need time to rest and rejuvenate. You may want to use this time to take a walk if the weather is great or watch Netflix. Maybe even chill and grab a cup of coffee, bond with that housemate or call your friends.


5. Interact with others

Vital information could be missed out. Interacting with fellow classmates can help in creating your social sphere and boost your academics by discussing course work. Don’t be afraid to reach out, that’s what they are here for. It is also very important in improving your network.


6. Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes:

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is a real thing. Say no to FOMO. It’s not every gist that demands your attention. You don’t have to attend every party or be at every hangout. It is okay to tell your friends you can’t hang with them sometimes. Your true friends will understand if you are busy with college work. Take it easy on yourself. It’s not easy to juggle working and schooling, so always know that you are doing your best.




To summarise

There are a lot of reasons to strike a better work-life balance. Protecting your physical and mental health. Accelerating your career. Less stress. The list goes on. We hope you enjoyed HomeHak’s most recommended tips for improving the balance.

Here is another article on finding a balance in university: