You are a landlord if you own land or a building and you have leased all or part of it to another person – a tenant. Your main legal rights and obligations as a landlord derive from landlord and tenant law as well as from any lease or tenancy agreement (written or spoken) between you and your tenant.
The main legislation governing these rights and obligations in private rented accommodation is set down in the Landlord and Tenant Acts 1967 to 1994, the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015. However, if you are renting a room in your home to your tenant, the tenancy does not come under the residential tenancies legislation (though renting out a self-contained flat in your home is covered). Read more in our document Sharing accommodation with your landlord.
Leases or other tenancy agreements cannot take away from your rights under the legislation, but you and your tenant can agree on matters that are not dealt with in it.
The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 contains several amendments to the residential tenancies legislation. It was signed into law on 23 December 2016. Some of the changes take effect from 24 December 2016 and some others will require Commencement Orders. The changes include:
Landlords such as housing associations, co-operatives and similar voluntary housing organisations (known as approved housing bodies or AHBs) are now covered by the residential tenancies legislation and have most of the same rights and obligations that private landlords have. However, there are some differences, including the rules on rent reviews, the minimum standards required and the landlord’s right to end a tenancy.
You have the right to:
You do not have the right to:
As a landlord, you must:
You must also make sure that the tenants meet their obligations. Anyone who is affected by your tenants’ failure to meet their obligations can make a complaint against you to the RTB.
You may withhold all or part of a tenant’s deposit only if:
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a new tenancy deposit protection scheme. These provisions are not yet in effect.
The Equal Status Acts 2000–2015 apply to lettings and accommodation. Landlords cannot discriminate against potential tenants on grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community.
In addition, since 1 January 2016, you cannot discriminate against a tenant or potential tenant because they are getting Rent Supplement or any other social welfare payment, or a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). This means that you cannot state when advertising accommodation that Rent Supplement or HAP is not accepted and you cannot refuse to rent accommodation to someone because they are getting a social welfare payment. Read more on the website of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (pdf).
Landlords pay tax on rental income under Revenue's self-assessment system. You can deduct the interest on money borrowed to purchase, improve or repair rented property when working out your rental income for tax purposes. You must show that you have registered all tenancies in the property with the RTB.
In general, for residential properties this deduction is restricted to 75% of the interest accruing on loans. Interest is treated as accruing on a daily basis and the date the loan was taken out is not relevant. Interest can only be deducted during the period in which the property is let.
However, since January 2016, landlords who rent residential property for 3 years to tenants who are getting social housing supports can deduct all of the interest that accrues during that 3-year period. Social housing supports include the Housing Assistance Payment, the Rental Accommodation Scheme and Rent Supplement. You must submit an undertaking to the RTB, stating that you commit to renting a residential property to tenants on social housing supports for 3 years. The RTB will register these undertakings in its Register of Tenancies. You can get the form for registering an undertaking on the RTB's website (pdf).
If you rent out a room or flat in your home you are exempt from income tax on the amount that your tenant pays you for rent and other services, up to €12,000 in a tax year.
If you are living outside Ireland and your tenant pays rent directly to you, the tenant must deduct tax from the gross rent and account for it to Revenue. If the rent is being paid to a collection agent, the agent must account for the tax. Read more in our document on tax issues for tenants.
Read further information on Housing tax credits and reliefs.
If the mortgage on the dwelling is in arrears and the mortgage lender has appointed a receiver, your tenants must pay the rent to the receiver, but you remain legally responsible for matters such as returning the tenants’ deposits. The receiver may arrange for repairs to be carried out, but it is unclear whether the receiver is required to do this or whether the receiver takes on any of the responsibilities of a landlord.
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Tel: 0818 303 037 or 00353 766 887 350
Fax: 0818 303 039
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. The Phone Service will operate Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm during January 2017. You can also visit your local Citizens Information Centre.