Given the ongoing media attention regarding accommodation and the particular stress on availability every September it is important to reflect on the rights of both parties.
Whether you are a landlord letting out accommodation or a tenant renting accommodation, you both have rights and responsibilities which are set out under legislation.
While the emphasis is usually on tenants’ rights, a recent case showed the importance of both sides of the relationship. In early September the Residential Tenancies Board ordered several tenants to pay more than €60,000 in unpaid rent in a series of rulings published this week.
The board, which is responsible for regulating rental disputes, found against several tenants who were overholding, or continuing to occupy a property after the tenancy expired following a valid notice of termination.
The rights of a landlord are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act (2004, as amended). Under this Act, a landlord has the right to:
- Set the rent of the property and receive the rent in full from the tenant on the date it is due. Landlords should ensure they understand the laws that apply to them when setting the rent based on where the rented dwelling is located. A Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) is a designated area where rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation, as recorded by the Harmonised Index of the Consumer Price (HICP) which is capped at 2% per year pro rata when the HICP rate is higher. This applies to new and existing tenancies (unless an exemption is being applied). Landlords are strongly advised to use the RPZ rent calculator. Landlords must also show their rent calculations and how they arrived at the figure they are seeking to their new tenancy.
- End the tenancy in the first six months without reason if there is no fixed term lease in place. After six months, a landlord can terminate a tenancy for certain reasons.
- Be told who is living in the property, and decide whether to allow the tenant to sub-let or assign the property (this does not apply to Approved Housing Body landlords)
- Be informed about any repairs needed and be given reasonable access to fix them.
- Refer any disputes to the RTB.
Tenants’ rights are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act (2004, as amended). Under this Act, a tenant has 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 the tenant’s permission unless every attempt has been made to contact the tenant.
- A receipt or statement or rent book that acknowledges payments made for rent and any other payments (e.g. utilities) made to 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 the landlord for any required repairs the tenant carried out on the property that they 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 a tenancy.
- Refer any disputes to the RTB.
NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email email@example.com.