Mould in rented accommodation




Mould is a type of fungi that occurs completely naturally in nature and its main function is to help with the decomposition of organic matter such as leaves. Not the type of thing anybody would want in their property. They reproduce through spores that float around in the air and only grow into visible colonies when they spend enough time on a suitable surface containing moisture and nutrients.


Mould Growth

Materials that are used in the building of most homes like plywood and carpets are perfect breeding grounds for growth so the key to prevention is reducing moisture. Excess moisture appears after flooding, plumbing leaks, buildings that are too airtight so moisture can’t escape, not enough ventilation near ovens and showers resulting in condensation and general high humidity levels. Condensation also occurs when air gets colder and it loses its ability to retain moisture. Add moisture to warmth and give it a bit of time and you’ve got a new addition to the household.

The most common cause in Irish homes is probably condensation. It’s an internal problem arising from moisture that can’t escape. To prevent condensation and in turn contribute largely to the prevention of mould you should:

  • Have a good ventilation system in place – extractor fans in bathrooms, exhaust fans in cooking and laundering areas and open windows
  • Dry windows and windowsills when you notice condensation forming
  • Insulate cold surfaces well in order to keep central heating low to stop build up on windows, walls and floors
  • Try to keep carpets and rugs away from water sources like sinks and showers
  • Dry washed clothes outside as much as possible
  • Air cupboards and wardrobes frequently

Choosing the right tenant for your property


Removing Mould

If mould is already a problem in the home, the best thing to do is get rid of what’s already there and then take preventative measures. Mould killing sprays can be bought in most local supermarkets and these are effective in removing small growths, although a mixture of water and bleach can also help. If on walls or skirting boards, fungicidal paint can be used after the clean-up to prevent a recurrence of the problem. When cleaning, don’t forget to protect yourself. Rubber gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask are a must for protection against spores, and stop and go outside to get some air if you develop a headache or become nauseous. For larger growths it is recommended to call a professional mould remover. Certain materials like insulation and carpets can’t just be treated, they need to be removed and replaced.

If you spot the beginnings of mould growth (black pinpricks) take action immediately. While not generally toxic, mould can be an irritant and can contribute to respiratory problems. It also causes stains and eventually rots and/or causes deterioration depending on the material it’s growing on.

Whose Responsibility is it?

The simple answer is it’s both the landlords’ and tenants’ responsibility. Before they let a property, landlords should ensure there isn’t any mould growing or remove what’s currently there. Tenants should be informed of how to prevent it, what to do if it starts to grow during their tenancy, and should notify the landlord in case structural changes need to be made.

Other blogs of interest Keeping a tenant happy &

Final inspection and return of a deposit

by Andreas Riha

Rent management software

Happy Tenants

Image credit DieselDemon
You’ve done the hard work – made an agreement with a landlord to let and/or manage their property, made sure everything is in order with the property, advertised it and found suitable tenants. Time to put the feet up and relax? Unfortunately not. The next task is to keep the tenants happy, which will hopefully encourage them to renew their lease. But how do you do this? If you’re the theory-loving type, there are plenty of books and articles on Customer Relationship Management. If not, the following will be of some help (although it is recommended to also do a little research into the area).

Know the lease and property they’re renting inside-out

For agents with a number of properties on the go this may be difficult, but it really is worth it. Knowing the finest details will help to clear up any queries or issues much quicker than if you don’t know them. It will also show tenants that you are serious about their welfare (in relation to the property at least!) and will give them confidence that you will be able to help when needed.

Communicate with them regularly

We’re not suggesting that you should become fully fledged friends with your happy tenants, but be sure to keep in contact with them. Answer their calls and messages promptly, and keep them updated as you solve problems. If you don’t, they may think nothing is being done. The tenant is not going to know that you’re waiting on a quote or approval from the landlord unless you tell them. Questions from tenants can build up very quickly so find a way of prioritising them.

Ensure consistency in each relationship

Maintain the same level of service for every tenant. Related to the above points, this means having good rent collection practices in place, enforcing rules fairly etc. The word of mouth phenomenon is very powerful, especially when it comes to negative stories, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of it! Consistent practices will mean only positive stories are spread about your agency.

Get feedback

This can be done either informally or formally throughout the tenancy or when it’s coming close to the end. Informally could be a quick phone call to check what they thought of the service and how to improve it. The formal route could include a more detailed questionnaire, but keep it straightforward and not too long. We know they take effort to complete, so if the budget allows it throw in an incentive of a cash prize or voucher to encourage tenants to fill it in.

Be nice!

Simple good manners go a long way. Be polite and approachable in your dealings with tenants. In times of frustration, try to keep a cool head because anger generally doesn’t solve anything, and is unprofessional. To take it up a notch, send them a card from the company on their birthday.  Nothing extravagant is needed; a small card from the local newsagents will be enough to put a smile on their face. Again if the budget allows it, you could consider ordering company-specific standardised cards which may work out cheaper in the long run.

Remember happy tenants means occupied properties!
Other blogs which may interest you –

Attracting tenants


Generation Yers or echo boomers … call them what you like but this group of professionals in their 20s and 30s make up a significant portion of the rental population and will probably therefore be a fair share of the potential tenant pool.

So how do you attract these tenants to your property?

Figure out their needs, match your property to them accordingly insofar as possible and market the property so the Gen Yers know you’ve got what they want! Sounds simple doesn’t it? But we all know economic conditions are not making life simple at the moment. However, here are some tips on attracting Generation Yers to get you started.

Attracting tenants with mod cons

Mod cons are a must. The property doesn’t need to have everything under the sun in it, but basic expectations should be met. Going above expectations such as having the latest model of a fridge instead of one from a few years ago or under-floor heating would be a plus, but of course may not be possible. Generation Yers may want to add their own mod cons as time goes by and of course it is at the landlords’ discretion whether or not they’re happy to go with it.


Image credit Adegie

Tech savy tenants

Internet connection is also a must. While Generation Yers may not have been immersed in technology since birth like the Net Generation, they are still very tech-savvy. Working for companies like Google and Facebook means that the internet and various technologies and gadgets are a part of their daily lives, and will obviously extend to their home lives. Because of this, being able to connect to various cable outlets for gaming or for music is also important.

Leading on from the above, we’ve all heard some variation of the phrase ‘my phone is my life; I’d be lost without it’. The theft or damage of some technological gadget is a great loss to a Generation Yer, and so they need to know that their belongings are not covered by a landlord’s contents insurance, (s)he needs to have their own.


Another feature of how you will attract more of Gen Yers is how they’re always connected to others. Again this is mostly through technology but most of them are not hermits, they like real life interaction too! Therefore, you need to emphasise how close your property is to others. Not just other homes but also to shops, cafés, parks etc. Also when advertising, use every platform you possibly can. Don’t just stick to the old reliables, check out smartphone and tablet apps.


Offer your Gen Yers a renting platform like Rentview. This way they can have complete access to the rent schedule with their own secure login. They will also have access to a complete online detailed picture inventory and monthly rent receipts, to name but a few features.


Finally, when the lease is over, ask the tenants what they thought of the property and how it could be improved for future tenants. Learning is a lifelong process, and being open to it could mean a faster agreement and a higher rent in the future. Maybe even as soon as the next tenant!

by Andreas Riha

Students and renting:Part Two-Paying the rent



Firstly although this may seem quite obvious to most, students must ensure that they are financially able to afford moving out from home before they even think of logging onto Daft, Myhome or any other property website to start viewing your potential accommodation. You will be surprised at the amount of tenants in the property market who after one or two months of paying rent realise they are unable to meet the monthly requirements in rental payments. If you are unable to pay the rent on a consistent basis there is a chance of possible eviction from the property and an increase in rent or late fee based on the poor punctuality of payments.

To avoid any of these issues make sure and set a budget for your intended stay in the accommodation and match that with your sources of financial income whether it be a part time job,  financial support from your family or student loan can do the trick! Getting into issues over missing your rental payments is the last thing you want as a first time tenant as it will affect your future opportunities of securing high quality rental property on the market and the ability to provide credibility to financial institutions in the future. Obviously sometimes students can find themselves in trouble with rental issues over simple mistakes and sometimes easily avoidable issues such as:

  1.  A lack of documentation detailing rents paid and upcoming rents
  2.  Inconvenient  payment methods between owner and tenant
  3. Paying the rent on time
  4.  Poor communication between landlords/estate agent and tenant

Above (Two different snap shots of the Rentview property management software that allows tenants to see communication from property manager and upcoming/past rental payments.)

Rent is usually paid on a monthly basis for most of property you are going to find this summer, on occasion a landlord may require you to pay on a weekly basis and I suggest you avoid this as speaking from experience (paying cast to a landlord) it is extremely inconvenient. Unfortunately there is no set method in the industry for collecting rent, you may be asked to do any of the following:

  •  Pay the rent in cash
  •  Deposit rent money into the owners bank account via your local branch
  • Transfer funds via the internet into landlord or agents account
  •  Set up on a standing order with the agency or property owner

During my time renting I have experienced all four of the above methods for payment and a standing order set up by the agency or landlord is the best option to avoid missing your rent. Organising cash for a bank deposit or collection from the landlord can often result in someone not having the money on time, this has happened to me when house sharing with four others and it resulted in a 50e penalty fee. If you decide to house share with other students be careful about who choose to live for this reason as it can be unfair having to suffer from the actions of others.

If you are one of the tenants fortunate enough to move into a property where the agency is using the Rentview cloud based  rent and property management system you will be provided with the following features through your agency account :

1. Access to your schedule of rents for the lease period

2. Comments from your property manager on your rent schedule

3.  Automated receipts sent via e-mail when rent is marked as paid

4. Agency and property contact information

To access the information all you need is broadband connection and a desktop,latop or mobile device to login and stay up to date on your rental payments and communication from the property manager. This will help you ensure that the rent is paid on time and monitored efficiently so as to avoid any potential extra costs, communication errors and or disputes over payments. That’s all for today folks I hope you enjoyed the read and I hope students will find this information useful as they start to plan moving out for the first time. Please share the blog if possible and let me know your thoughts and comments on twitter @cormac_nugent!

In the next post I will cover further issues relating to your rent payments during a tenancy including proof of your payments and rent receipts, rent increases by the landlord during a tenancy, rent books and much more!

Student Renting Part One: Issues faced in the Irish rental market

Part one: A brief background to the topic of discussion and a look at the strained relationship between landlords/property managers and Students.             



Above (DIT Student union reps at the launch of the USI Rentbook,Aug,2011)

At the end of every summer the rental market in Ireland experiences a boom in people searching for accommodation around the country. This is mostly down to the beginning of the college term with the rush usually lasting from the end of August until early October. Thousands of students will receive their leaving cert results and thousands more will return to major cities such as Galway and Dublin to flood the rental market and put a smile on many estate agency owner’s faces.

Why am I writing this blog?

However, renting for the first time when beginning college has proven to be quite a difficult and sometimes controversial issue in the Irish rental market. Having rented three different properties myself in Dublin over the last three years, I have experienced the different types of people you will be dealing with and the key issues you need to take care of and monitor during your tenancy as a student. During this series I will look to lay out an essential guide to finding, managing and leaving your accommodation hassle free.

The background? No Students Allowed 🙁

Unfortunately I am of the opinion that students have developed a poor reputation with landlords and agencies due to a small number who act poorly or overindulge in the benefits of having their own home, leaving the remaining students tainted with the same negative image. Students can often be seen as a high risk tenant for a landlord or agent to accept unfortunately, and this leaves the rest fighting it out for the scraps left on the property market.

On occasion the property in which they end up in often leaves the student paying above market prices for medium to low quality accommodation due to the image they have developed and the type of owner they may now have to deal with. From my experience I believe the following to be the major issues when it comes to students and their rented accommodation during the academic year :

  1. Rental payments, missed or late rents and clarity on payment
  2. Inventory and property condition before and after signing lease.
  3. Adhering to contracts and lease agreement terms.
  4. Poor communication between owner and renter.
  5. End of lease issues-deposit retention and obtaining a reference.

The aim of this blog series is to analyse and openly discuss these issues a student will face and guide them to maintaining a stress free tenancy. It is an area I will be blogging a lot about during the summer months as Rentview continue to research this market with the aim of introducing a free service to students that aids the renting process. Next up I’ll be talking about everything to do with the most important factor of moving out, paying the RENT. I will approach the topic from a neutral perspective between the tenant/landlord as i don’t want either getting annoyed with my opinions :). You can connect with me on twitter @cormac_nugent or follow @Rentview_, thanks for reading and don’t forgot to share this blog and comment below if you like.

Opening an Account with an Energy Provider


The rules on changing Energy Provider

Recent changes introduced by the Commission for Energy Regulation mean that the process of switching accounts from one energy provider to another can no longer be carried out by a letting agency. The energy provider will only allow the agency to change account into new tenant’s name if they already provide energy to that property. For example; a property in Inchicore, Dublin 8 has an account with Bord Gáis. The new tenants also have an account with Bord Gáis. The agency can switch the account names without any great difficulty.

If the tenant wants to move into a property which has a different energy provider to the one (s)he currently holds an account with and (s)he wants to keep the same provider, (s)he will have to contact the current provider, instead of the agent, to complete the process. Taking the previous example, the Inchicore property has a Bord Gáis account. The new tenant has an Electric Ireland account and wants to stay with Electric Ireland. The agency can no longer switch the Bord Gáis account to Electric Ireland, the tenant must do so. Essentially, switching by the agency is only allowed when the two accounts are with the same energy provider. With different providers, the closing and opening of accounts by the tenant is the only way.

These changes make life more difficult for agents. They have to spend time explaining the process to both the tenants and landlords  and why they can and can’t do certain things. If agents need to discuss or clarify details with the energy provider, they may not be able to as some providers refuse to speak with anyone other the account holder under data protection rules. The agent has to rely on the tenant to do it, which may mean chasing tenants for confirmation and not being able to move on until you know it’s definitely been done. If the tenant refuses to pay a bill, the agency might have to step in and pay it, as there’s an agreement with the landlord that utility accounts will be managed by the agency.

Figures from the regulator show that during the period January 2010 to December 2011, Electric Ireland lost 345,412 customers, with Airtricity and Bord Gáis gaining 257,151 and 77,793 customers respectively. Price competition would be the obvious explanation for the differences.

How to open,  switch or close an account with an energy provider:


To switch (change account name):

-You need the name, address, account number, MPRN/GPRN of the home, move in date, electricity/gas meter readings, date of birth and contact details of the tenant. You’ll need to call Electric Ireland to arrange the switch. If everything is in order, the account will be switched straight away.

To close an account:Contact Electric Ireland with the name, account number, the moving out date, the final meters reading, forwarding address and the new tenant’s name and phone number.

To open an account: Contact Electric Ireland with the name and address, move in date, MPRN/GPRN number, meter readings on move in date, date of birth and account number of previous address.If the tenant is a new customer (s)he must sign up for a direct debit or pay a security deposit if €300.


To switch, open or close an account: you need contact Bord Gáis with the tenant name, old and new addresses, meter readings, MPRN/GPRN numbers and bank details.


To open and close accounts: you need to contact Airtricity with tenant names, old and new addresses, meter readings from move out/move in days, MPRN/GPRN numbers and bank details.

The process of switching or opening and closing accounts varies from provider to provider, as shown above. Further details can be found on,, and