College students are being warned to be vigilant when renting accommodation as the autumn semester kicks off.
The return to campus will likely see a higher number of students seeking accommodation as teaching moves away from last year's remote and hybrid models.
While many returning students may already have accommodation organised, incoming first year students may be waiting to receive their CAO round one offers on Tuesday, deciding what course they get and where they will be heading.
The Irish Property Owners' Association (IPOA) have warned that the return of students causes a "frantic scramble for rental accommodation" each year.
Most institutions have accommodation set aside for incoming first years, making it easier for them to make the transition to third-level, while college accommodation offices will also assist students struggling to find a place to live.
For those looking in the private rental market, such as private houses and digs, the IPOA suggest prospective tenants should first ask the landlord for confirmation of ownership, such as sight of insurance documentation or a Local Property Tax receipt.
"By doing this there will be a transparent identification processes in place, which will help protect them and eliminate fraud," the association states.
"It is sad that such precautions need to be taken, but as with all sectors criminals are prepared to take advantage at any given chance and we must endeavour to protect our members and their tenants," IPOA chair Stephen Faughnan adds.
Students are also advised to familiarise themselves with the law relating to the rental sector, starting by reading over the Residential Tenancies Board website.
Most importantly, before any money is exchanged, students are urged to inspect the property to ensure the accommodation is as advertised and meets their needs.
Once satisfied with the accommodation, payment can be made and a receipt should be obtained from the owner or agent.
"Don’t be afraid to ask any question as a legitimate person will not mind you being careful. Remember it’s your money and protect your interest," the IPOA adds.