Your main legal rights and responsibilities as a private tenant derive from landlord and tenant law as well as from any lease or tenancy agreement between you and your landlord.
The main legislation governing these rights and obligations is contained in the Landlord and Tenant Acts 1967 to 1994 and the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. However, if you are living with your landlord you are not covered by landlord and tenant legislation.
Leases or other tenancy agreements cannot take away from your rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, but you and your landlord can agree on matters that are not dealt with in the Act.
The provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act only apply to mainstream private rented housing at present, though the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012 (pdf) proposes to regulate many tenancies in the voluntary housing sector in the same way as private tenancies. Tenants of social housing and private tenants who live in their landlord's home (for example, under the Rent a Room Scheme) are covered by different laws.
Find out more about your landlord’s rights and obligations.
You have the right to security of tenure in four-year cycles under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. A tenancy that is guaranteed in this way is called a Part 4 tenancy. If you intend to avail of protection under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (e.g. stay in the property for up to 4 years) you should inform your landlord in writing between 3 months and 1 month before the expiry of your fixed-term tenancy or lease ageement. You can read more about types of tenancy here.
You should note that it may be more difficult to assert your rights if you have broken conditions of your tenancy.
If your landlord’s mortgage is in arrears and the mortgage lender has appointed a receiver, you must pay the rent to the receiver, but it is the landlord who remains legally responsible for matters such as returning your 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.
Possible changes to the law are being explored in order to provide more clarity for private tenants whose homes are put into receivership.
If your landlord lives outside the State, you must deduct tax for the rent and account for it to the Revenue Commissioners. If you pay income tax and you were already renting on 7 December 2010, you may be eligible for some tax relief on the rent.
Read more in our document on tax issues for tenants.
If you feel your rights as a tenant have been infringed, you have some methods of redress.
Our document on resolving disputes between landlords and tenants describes several options.
Threshold provides a free advice and information service to tenants. It has offices in Dublin, Cork and Galway.
In the case of disputes regarding private tenancy agreements, you may take your case to the Private Residential Tenancies Board, which provides a dispute resolution service.
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.