The amount of rent payable for a property is agreed between the landlord and tenant at the start of a tenancy. Private landlords must follow certain procedures if they want to raise the rent. The rules are set out in Part 3 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and have recently been amended by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.
These rules only apply to private rented housing, not to housing that is let by local authorities or approved housing bodies (housing associations), both of which charge differential rents based on household income. While approved housing bodies now come under the residential tenancies legislation, their rent reviews will continue to be carried out in accordance with their tenancy agreements, or no more than once in any 12-month period.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has a central role in supporting the rented housing market. It deals with disputes between landlords and tenants, including disputes about rent reviews. It also provides information about rent reviews and increases.
The following changes came into effect on 4 December 2015 for private tenancies:
Since 9 May 2016, a notice of new rent must contain certain information. For example, the landlord must state their opinion that the new rent is not greater than the market rent – see below. They must also provide 3 examples of rent amounts for similar dwellings being advertised in the area. Read more in ‘Rent reviews’ below.
Under Section 19 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, landlords cannot charge more than the open market rate of rent. Market rent is defined in Section 24 as ‘the rent which a willing tenant not already in occupation would give and a willing landlord would take for the dwelling’. The RTB publishes a quarterly index of rents, which you can use to check current market rents. Read more about market rent and the rent index.
A rent review can result in an increase or reduction of the rent. Your landlord has the right to review the rent once every 2 years (increased from 1 year with effect from 4 December 2015). Unless the accommodation has changed substantially, it cannot be reviewed more often than this.
In addition, your rent cannot be increased until 24 months after the start of your tenancy. If your rent was reviewed at any time in the last 24 months, it cannot be reviewed again until 24 months after the date of the last review.
Your landlord must give you proper notice of the amount of the proposed new rent and the date from which it is to take effect. The notice must be in writing and contain the information prescribed by the legislation – see ‘Notice of rent review’ below. Emails, text messages and spoken messages are not valid forms of notice.
You must get at least 90 days’ notice (increased from 28 days with effect from 4 December 2015).
The landlord must also notify the RTB of the revised rent so that it can update the registration details of the tenancy.
The notice of new rent must comply with the provisions of Section 26 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015. The notice must:
The RTB has published a sample notice of rent review (pdf).
As a tenant, you can ask your landlord to review the rent if:
Threshold, the national housing charity, publishes detailed advice on how to deal with rent increases. Its leaflet on resolving problems during your tenancy (pdf) includes tips on dealing with rent increases. You can contact Threshold for advice on your particular situation – see ‘Where to apply’ below’.
If there is any dispute about the amount of rent being proposed, either side can refer the dispute to the RTB. If you are claiming that the proposed rent is higher than the market rate, you should provide evidence of rental rates for similar properties in the same area.
If the landlord has given you a valid written notice of the rent increase, you must contact the RTB with your dispute before the date that the new rent comes into effect or within 28 days of getting the notice, whichever is later. There is no time limit if the notice is not valid.
You must continue to pay your rent until the case has been determined by the RTB.
There may be flexibility in cases where landlords seek rents that are above the Rent Supplement limits. This applies to existing tenants and to new Rent Supplement applicants. The circumstances of tenants are considered on a case-by-case basis and rents increased above the set limits as appropriate. Contact the local office that administers your Rent Supplement.
In addition, the Department of Social Protection, in conjunction with Threshold, operates a special protocol in areas where supply issues are particularly acute. Tenants in Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow and Cork city can access the Tenancy Protection Service on 1800 454 454.
To refer a dispute to the RTB for resolution, it costs €15 to apply online and €25 for an application on paper (contact the RTB to request a form).
Dublin Outreach Clinic
Co. Council Office
Opening Hours:Tuesday 2pm - 5pm
Tel: (01) 635 3651
PO Box 47
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 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.