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. These rules only apply to private rented housing, not to social housing.
New proposals for reform of the private rental sector include changes to the rules on reviewing and increasing rents.
The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) has a central role in supporting the rental housing market. It deals with disputes between landlords and tenants, including disputes about rent reviews. It has also published an article Rent increases: the facts, which answers some common questions.
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 PRTB publishes a quarterly index of rents, which you can use to check current market rents.
A rent review can result in an increase or reduction of the rent. Your landlord has the right to review the rent once a year. Unless the accommodation has changed substantially, it cannot be reviewed more often than this, or during the first 12 months of the tenancy.
Your landlord must give you at least 28 days’ 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, in a form that meets the requirements of Section 6 of the Residential Tenancies Act. Emails, text messages and spoken messages are not valid forms of notice.
The landlord must also notify the PRTB of the revised rent.
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, including a list of tips (pdf) on dealing with your landlord. 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 PRTB. If you are claiming that the proposed rent is higher than the market rate, you should provide comparable 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 PRTB 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 PRTB.
If you are getting Rent Supplement and are at risk of losing your home due to a proposed rent increase, you can contact the Tenancy Protection Service, which is run by Threshold on behalf of the Dublin housing authorities – see ‘Where to apply’ below. This will shortly be extended to Cork.
Outside of the Dublin region, you should contact the local office that administers the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme, which includes Rent Supplement.
Dublin Outreach Clinic
Co. Council Office
Opening Hours:Tuesday 2pm - 5pm
Tel: (01) 635 3651
PO Box 47
Tel:+353 (0) 818 30 30 37
Fax:+353 (0) 818 30 30 39
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.