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 (pdf). These rules only apply to private rented housing, not to social housing.
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 also provides information about rent increases.
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 (pdf) has been signed into law. Most of its provisions require Commencement Orders before they take effect, but the following provisions on rent reviews took effect on 4 December 2015:
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. With effect from 4 December 2015, your landlord has the right to review the rent once every 2 years (increased from 1 year). Unless the accommodation has changed substantially, it cannot be reviewed more often than this.
Under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015, the following rules apply from 4 December 2015:
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, in a form that meets the requirements of legislation. Emails, text messages and spoken messages are not valid forms of notice. With effect from 4 December 2015, you must get at least 90 days’ notice (increased from 28 days).
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 – see ‘Where to apply’ below. This service is available in Dublin and Cork.
Outside of the Dublin and Cork regions, 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: 0818 30 30 37
Fax: 0818 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.