Choosing where to live


small red brick house


This article introduces typical accommodation options available and provides some tips for making the right choice for you.


Once you have an offer of a place at college you will need to think about where you would like to live. If you decide that you want to live away from home, your chosen college typically offers a variety of accommodation options suited to different budget, group sizes and lifestyle preferences.

There are several accomadation options to choose if you are coming to TUS Athlone. You can start by visiting our Students Union Accommodation page

    You can also check out Student Accommodation Athlone which provides accommodation for students of TUS Athlone.

    Living at Home

    Many students decide to stay living at home – whether that is to save money or they would prefer to keep the support they have at home while they get used to being in college. It is also possible to live at home in first year and then move out in the second or subsequent years if you want to. If you choose to live at home make sure you think about your commute to college – how much it will cost and how much time it will take. Commuting can be busy and stressful for everyone – so make sure you take this into account when considering where you want to live.

How could this affect me?

As you spend a lot of time in your accommodation, it is important that you make the right choice for you. You may be sharing facilities such as kitchen and social spaces with your flatmates. Everybody has their own way of living, socialising and thresholds for cleanliness and noise levels.

During our research, autistic students have told us things they liked and didn’t like about their accommodation. These were related to the size of rooms, noise levels, distance to shops, availability of quiet spaces, the study choices and maturity of fellow tenants, and more.

What should I check before I rent?

Don’t panic and take the first place you look at. Ask someone with experience of living in rented accommodation to come with you and to check facilities such as  heating, who you’re living with, how long it will take you to get to college and if the kitchen is okay for cooking. Look out for any potential sensory triggers, such as strong smells, strong lights or a noisy neighbourhood.

Make sure the living space is compatible with your living preferences. Ask yourself the following questions. Are you okay with sharing a room?  Do you want a house where you can party and hold events or just a house where you can study and get a good night’s sleep? Do you prefer to cook for yourself? Are you willing to sacrifice certain home comforts (e.g. tv, certain cooking appliances) in exchange for independence or vice-versa? Do you want to live with other students or find your own place? Finally consider whether this property makes this possible and whether the landlord or homeowner has any rules which may conflict with your preferences (AsIAm, 2021).

Living with other people

Living with other people can be great – but can also have its challenges. If you find yourself having an issue – try addressing the problem calmly by following these steps.


1) State the problem clearly and unemotionally (for example: ”the music that was playing until 4am last night was really loud”)

2) Explain without getting angry what the consequences were for you (for example: “It kept me up and meant I couldn't sleep”)

4) Listen to the reasons the person may have (for example: they didn't realise how loud the music was)

5) Tell the person you’re complaining to exactly what you’d like them to do about it without being rude (for example: use headphones after midnight)

6) Be clear when you need it doing (for example: weeknights or before when you have to get up early)

7) If they make a change to resolve the situation - thank them! 

Then it’s easy for the person to understand what the issue is and try to make things right. Even if something has really upset you it is best to stay calm and use the method above although it may be tempting to get angry or upset. Lots of students need to get used to living with other people and everyone makes mistakes while getting used to it.

What to do next?

Find out more about the options available at your college and choose your accommodation

Practical tips

  • Know your rights and responsibilites as a Tenant and the Responsibilities of the Landperson.
  • Decide if you want to or have to move out from home and live in student accommodation.
  • Make sure you think about accommodation early on – don’t wait until you get your results.
  • Make sure you take into account all the costs involved in your choice (bills, commuting, etc.) – not just rent.

Signing a lease

Before signing a lease ask about the deposit conditions. A deposit is a lump sum of money (often one month’s rent) that you are asked to pay to cover any damage to the accommodation while you live there. Ask the landlord under what circumstances will money be taken from the deposit on moving out. In some cases, regardless of how clean you kept the apartment, money may be taken from the deposit for maintenance such as cleaning the carpets or painting the walls.

Many students find that when it comes to asking for their deposit back, the landlord charges them for damage already done to the flat. You can take several steps to prevent this. Take photographs and notes of the condition of the room or house when you move. Email them to yourself immediately to give proof of the date when the pictures were taken. Ask the landlord for a list of items in the flat and a list of anything that needs to be repaired before you move in (AsIAm, 2021).

If you follow these steps you should not be asked to pay for anything that was already broken or damaged when you moved in. If you feel your landlord is illegally holding back your deposit from you remember that you have rights. Click here to find out more.

Rent Scams

The demand for rented accommodation is currently at its highest and as a result rental scams are becoming more common. When looking to rent it is important not to rush into a decision, be aware of offers that seem too good to be true (especially if they are found on social media) and always check the Register of Landlords or the Students Union Accommodation page to make sure your accommodation is legitimate (AsIAm, 2021).

Visit for more information on rental scams, how to avoid them and what to do if you are scammed.

Questions to think about

Think about:

  • Whether you want to live in a lively place in the town centre , or if you would prefer a quieter location outside of the town?
  • Do you want accommodation that offers its own social calendar?
  • Do you need an en-suite room?
  • Do you want to be close to the College?
  • Think about how you will get to College? Will you walk, cycle, travel by public transport?
  • How many people you would be comfortable sharing with?

About the author

This article was originally written by Kate Walker, Disability Advisor at Leeds Beckett University and adapted for use for TUS Athlone.

AsIAm (2021). Finding Accommodation – Autism Friendly HEI. [online] Available at: [Accessed 5 August 2022].