What is a tenant?
A tenant is someone who rents accommodation from a landlord. A landlord is a person who leases or rents a property to someone. The landlord may be an individual or an Approved Housing Body. Approved Housing Bodies, also called Housing associations, are not-for-profit organisations which provide social housing.
What is a lease?
A lease is a binding contract between a landlord and a tenant. A lease can be verbal or written. It should state:
How much rent should be paid and when you have to pay it.
Your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Your landlord’s rights and responsibilities.
The lease should also contain other conditions associated with living in the property, for instance if pets are permitted.
A lease should not contain terms that contradict your legal rights. For example, your lease may state that the landlord has unlimited access to the property, however under the Act, you are entitled to privacy as a tenant and a landlord must have your permission to access the property (however, in an emergency a landlord can access the property, provided they have attempted to make contact with you first).
What is a fixed term tenancy?
A fixed term tenancy is a tenancy that lasts for a specific amount of time. A `Part 4` tenancy runs alongside a fixed term tenancy, which means that the tenant shall, after a period of 6 months and as in the normal course, become entitled to the provisions of a `Part 4` tenancy (i.e. they can stay in the property for 6 years). This simply means that irrespective of the length of a fixed term lease,a tenant has an entitlement to remain in the dwelling for up to 6 years and the landlord can only terminate the tenancy on limited grounds.
Security of tenure
Recent changes to the legislation aim to move towards a situation where longer-term tenancies are more common.
For tenancies that began before the 24th of December 2016, after a 6 month probationary period, the tenant secures the right to remain in the property for a further 3 1/2 years. This is known as a `Part 4 tenancy`.
For tenancies that began before the 24th of December 2016, security of tenure has increased, and after a 6 month probationary period, the tenant secures the right to remain in the property for a further 5 1/2 years.
A `further Part tenancy` begins once the initial `Part 4 Tenancy` has finished. From the 24th of December 2016, when`further Part 4 tenancy`commences, it lasts for 6 years.
`Part 4 tenancies`also apply to tenants in Approved Housing Bodies.
How is a tenancy ended?
To end a tenancy, a landlord must send you a valid notice of termination. To be valid, the notice must:
Be in writing.
Be signed by the landlord or authorised agent.
Give the date that the notice is sent.
Say why the tenancy is ending. If the tenancy has lasted for 6 months or more, a landlord needs to use permitted grounds to end a tenancy, such as they wish to sell the property or they or a family member wish to move back in. A fixed term lease can only be ended during the fixed term if the lease has those permitted grounds written into it.
Give the date by which you must leave the property and state that you have the full 24 hours of this date to vacate the property.
Say you have 28 days to refer the termination to the RTB if you have any question about the validity of the notice or the landlords right to end the tenancy.
Who pays for repairs?
In general, the landlord is responsible for repairs due to damage caused by normal ware and tear. If the damage is beyond normal wear and tear, you are responsible.
The landlord must pay you back if you:
Carried out work with the landlord’s consent.
Wrote to the landlord about an essential repair and the landlord did not carry out the repair in a reasonable time.
Remember to keep receipts of work done.
Who pays for insurance?
The landlord must insure the property but this usually only covers damage to the structure, i.e. the bricks and mortar.
It is your responsibility to get contents insurance to protect your personal belongings.
Who pays for services?
Usually you have to pay for services such as gas, electricity, phone and rubbish collections. If you use a rent book, write these payments as a record. If there is no rent book, you should keep all receipts as proof of payment.
Can a landlord inspect the property?
A landlord can only enter your property if:
They have your permission, or
It is an emergency but they must try to contact you first.
A landlord has a right to inspect the property and should carry out regular inspections. If you continuously object to your landlord entering to inspect it, you are not meeting your responsibilities.
What are my responsibilities as a tenant?
Pay your rent in full and on time.
Keep the property in good order and tell the landlord when repairs are needed. You must give the landlord and those carrying out repairs access to carry out repairs.
Keep a record of all repairs, payments (including receipts) and dealings with your landlord.
Make sure that you do not damage the property, for example by drying clothes inside without proper ventilation (as this may cause dampness).
Allow the landlord to carry out inspections of the property at reasonable intervals on agreed dates and times.
Let the landlord know who is living in the property. You cannot let other move in without the landlord’s consent.
Behave responsibly and not engage in antisocial behaviour.
Comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement, whether written or verbal.
Make sure you do not perform any hazardous acts that would affect your landlord’s insurance premium on the property.
Give proper notice when you plan to end the tenancy.
What are my rights as a tenant?
Your rights as a tenant are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act (2004, as amended). Under this Act, you have the right to:
A property that is in good condition – this means that it must be structurally sound, have hot and cold water, and adequate heating. The electricity and gas supply must be in good repair and all appliances must be working.
Privacy – the landlord can only enter the property with your permission, unless it is an emergency and they have tried to contact you.
A rent book, written contract or lease with the landlord.
Be told about any increase in rent.
Be able to contact the landlord or their authorised agent at any reasonable time.
Be paid back monies from your landlord for any required repairs you carried out on the property that you asked the landlord to fix but which they did not carry out within a reasonable timeframe.
A valid notice of termination before the end of the tenancy.
Tips for a successful tenancy
This checklist may help you to avoid or at least minimize disputes with your landlord:
Check www.rtb.ie to see if your landlord has had a case taken against then by another tenant before renting the accommodation.
Get a receipt from the landlord when you pay your deposit.
Get a copy of any lease (if there is one) and make sure you understand it.
Make sure to get a list of contents and conditions of all items in the property from the landlord before the tenancy starts. This is called an `inventory`. Where possible take photographs of the property at the start and end of the tenancy as a record of its condition.
Keep the property in the condition it was in at the start of the tenancy.
Tell the landlord promptly when repairs and maintenance works are needed to the property.
What should I look for when renting accommodation?
You should decide where you would like to live, make sure it meets your needs and know you can afford it.
You should consider:
Is the property secure and of good quality?
Does the location and size meet your needs?
Can you afford to pay the rent as well as electricity, gas and other regular utility bills?
Has the property signs of dampness?
Are all facilities and appliances in working order?
Are waste disposal charges the responsibility or the tenant or the landlord?
Is a booking deposit required and what are the conditions of its return when you move out?
Do I need to insure my personal belongings?
Tenants are responsible for their own contents insurance. It is the landlord’s responsibility to insure the building. We recommend all tenants to insure their personal items in the event of fire, water damage, or theft. Please go towww.hdgroup.ie/offices/killarney for more information.
Who looks after the TV Licence?
The television licence applies to the occupier not the property, so a licence should be purchased from your local post office by the tenant.
Are pets allowed in a property?
Usually no, however this really depends on the property you are renting and the landlord’s preference. Sometimes an extra security deposit can assist in making the arrangement possible or a reference from your previous landlord stating that the pet is well trained etc.
Do I have to pay refuse (waste) charges?
Refuse charges are the responsibility of the tenant. Usually in an apartment block the refuse charge is included in the rent.
Do you accept rent allowance?
Yes once references are provided and social welfare have approved you for the rent amount advertised.
What happens if I break my lease?
The lease that you signed is for a fixed period, usually twelve months. If you decide to move out early for any reason you will forfeit your deposit as the landlord uses this as loss of rent.
Can I claim rent relief?
Irish citizens and foreign workers can claim tax refunds such as medical exp, rent relief, medical insurance and PRSI refunds. Contact www.taxback.com for a free assessment.
If you are renting accommodation privately (whether in Ireland or outside the State) and pay income tax, you may be eligible for tax relief on part of your rent. You can only claim this relief if you were already renting at 7 December 2010. If you were not renting on that date and you subsequently entered into a rental agreement, you will not be able to claim tax relief on your rent. However, if you were renting at 7 December 2010 you will continue to qualify for this relief even if you enter a different rental agreement after that date. The relief is being phased out and 2017 will be its last year.
Can my landlord “drop in” whenever he/she likes?
No. The landlord has to notify the tenant when he wishes to call. Minimum notice period required is 24 hours, unless it’s an emergency.
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our staff who will be happy to assist you.