Landlords’ rights and obligations
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, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 and the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016.
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 Rent-a-room relief.
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 provides for several changes. However, not all of these provisions are yet in effect.
The provisions that are now in effect include:
- Measures to prevent the simultaneous serving of termination notices on large numbers of residents in a single development
- Increased security of tenure for tenancies created from 24 December 2016
- Removing the provision that allows a landlord to end a further Part 4 tenancy during the first 6 months without having to give a reason
- Changes to declarations required when a termination is due to sale of the dwelling
- Extending the tenancy cycle for Part 4 tenancies from 4 years to 6 years
- Requiring a landlord to give reason when terminating a Further Part 4 tenancy in the first 6 months
They also include restrictions on the sale of 10 or more rented units in a development (the “Tyrrelstown amendment”).
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.
Rights as a landlord
You have the right to:
- Set the rent
- Receive the correct rent on the date it is due – but see 'Private tenancies and receivership' below
- Receive any charges associated with the property (this means taxes and duties or payments)
- Terminate a tenancy during the first 6 months without giving a reason
- In certain circumstances – terminate a tenancy at a later stage
- Be informed about who is ordinarily living in the property (this does not include overnight visitors or short stays)
- Be informed of any repairs needed
- Be given reasonable access to the property to carry out repairs
- Refer disputes to the RTB – but only if you have fulfilled your obligation to register the tenancy - see below
- For private tenancies only – decide whether the tenant may sub-let or assign a tenancy. However, if you refuse to allow a tenant to assign or sublet a tenancy, this refusal can give the tenant the right to terminate a fixed-term tenancy before its expiry date.
- For private tenancies only – review the rent every 2 years, unless the
property is in a Rent Pressure Zone and the tenancy started on or since 24
December 2016 (AHB rents are reviewed every 12 months, or according to the
Read more in our document Rent increases in private rented housing.
You do not have the right to:
- Enter your tenant's home without permission
- Take or retain your tenant’s property – even if they haven’t paid the rent
- Charge more than the market rate for the property
- Penalise your tenant for bringing a dispute to the RTB.
Obligations of a landlord
As a landlord, you must:
- Register the tenancy with the RTB
- Provide your tenant with a rent book or statement of rent paid
- Make sure that the property meets certain minimum standards (though the standards for food preparation, storage and laundry purposes do not apply to AHBs)
- Repair and maintain the interior of the property to the standard it was in at the start of the tenancy
- Repair and maintain the structure of the property
- Provide a Building Energy Rating (BER) for the property
- Reimburse tenants for any repairs they carry out which are your responsibility
- Insure the property (if it is impossible to get insurance, or if the cost is unreasonable, this obligation doesn’t apply)
- Provide the tenant with information about any agents who are authorised to deal on your behalf (such as management companies, agencies, personal representatives)
- Ensure that the tenant knows how to contact you or your agent
- Give private tenants 90 days’ notice of a rent review (AHBs should give notice “as soon as is practicable”)
- Provide tenants with a valid written notice of termination if you are terminating the tenancy
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 tenant has not given you proper notice when ending the tenancy
- You have been left with outstanding bills (for electricity, gas etc.) or unpaid rent
- The tenant has caused damage beyond normal wear and tear
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a new tenancy deposit protection scheme. These provisions are not yet in effect.
Refusal to grant a tenancy
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.
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 €14,000 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.
Private tenancies and receivership
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.
Where to apply