If you are living in rented accommodation in Ireland you must pay the owner of the property for the use of the premises. The money you pay to the landlord for the use of the property is called rent. Everyone living in rented accommodation (including private and local authority tenants) pays rent. Usually the amount of rent payable for a property is negotiated between the landlord and tenant at the start of the tenancy.
In the past, tenants in Ireland without a lease had no protection against rent increases. This meant that landlords could increase the rent as much as they liked, as often as they liked. Today, tenants have more security as a result of changes in the law and landlords must follow certain procedures if they want to increase the rent.
Under Section 19 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (pdf) landlords cannot charge more than the open market rate for the apartment or house. (See 'Rates' for more information on the open market rate). You should note that the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act only apply to mainstream private rented housing - local authority tenants are covered by different laws. You can find out more about local authority tenancies here and about your landlord’s rights and obligations here. Your landlord cannot review the rent more than once a year unless the accommodation has changed substantially. This might, for example, constitute a complete refurbishment or another major change. You can ask your landlord to review the rent if:
Your landlord has the right to review the rent annually. However your landlord must give you at least 28 days notice (in writing) before increasing the rent. If there is any dispute about the amount of rent or about arrears of rent, either side can refer the dispute to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB). You must contact the PRTB before the date the new rent comes into effect or within 28 days of getting the notice, whichever is later. Read more about the PRTB and dispute resolution here.
The law (Section 19 of the Private Residential Tenancies Act 2004) defines the open market rate as "the rent which a willing tenant not already in occupation would give and a willing landlord would take for the dwelling". One of the PRTB’s functions is to monitor and research trends to find out what this market rate is in relation to cases taken to the PRTB.
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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.