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Tenants’ rights and obligations

Introduction

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.

Landlord and tenant law

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.

Rights as a tenant in private rented accommodation

  • You are entitled to quiet and exclusive enjoyment of your home
  • You are entitled to certain minimum standards of accommodation
  • You are entitled to a rent book
  • You have the right to contact the landlord or their agent at any reasonable times. You are also entitled to have appropriate contact information (telephone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc.)
  • Your landlord is only allowed to enter your home with your permission. If the landlord needs to carry out repairs or inspect the premises, it should be by prior arrangement, except in an emergency
  • You are entitled to reimbursement for any repairs that you carry out that are the landlord's responsibility
  • You are entitled to have friends to stay overnight or for short periods, unless specifically forbidden in your tenancy agreement. You must tell your landlord if you have an extra person moving in
  • You are entitled to a certain amount of notice of the termination of your tenancy
  • You are entitled to refer any disputes to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) without being penalised for doing so
  • You have the right to a copy of any register entry held by the PRTB dealing with your tenancy
  • All homes for rent must have a Building Energy Rating (BER), stating how energy-efficient the home is. This will help you to make an informed choice when comparing properties to rent.

Security of tenure

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.

Obligations of a tenant in private rented accommodation

You must:

  • Pay your rent on time
  • Keep the property in good order
  • Inform the landlord if repairs are needed and give the landlord access to the property to carry out repairs
  • Give the landlord access (by appointment) for routine inspections
  • Inform the landlord of who is living in the property
  • Avoid causing damage or nuisance
  • Make sure that you do not cause the landlord to be in breach of the law
  • Comply with any special terms in your tenancy agreement, verbal or written
  • Give the landlord the information required to register with the PRTB and sign the registration form when asked to do so.

You should note that it may be more difficult to assert your rights if you have broken conditions of your tenancy.

Private tenancies and receivership

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.

Read more in the Irish Banking Federation’s Residential Tenant’s Guide to Receivership and in Threshold’s advice on the appointment of receivers.

Tax issues

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.

How to apply

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.

If your landlord is not maintaining the property to the proper standards you can contact your local authority, which is responsible for enforcing standards in rented housing.

Where to apply

Private Residential Tenancies Board

PO Box 47
Clonakilty
Co. Cork
Ireland

Tel:+353 (0) 818 30 30 37
Fax:+353 (0) 818 30 30 39
Homepage: http://www.prtb.ie/

Threshold

21 Stoneybatter
Dublin 7
Ireland

Opening Hours:Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel:1890 334 334
Fax:(01) 677 2407
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advice@threshold.ie

Threshold

22 South Mall
Cork
Ireland

Opening Hours:Mon - Fri: 9 am to 1 pm and 2 pm to 5 pm
Tel:(021) 427 8848
Fax:(021) 480 5111
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advicecork@threshold.ie

Threshold

3 Victoria Place
Merchant's Road
Galway
Ireland

Opening Hours:Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel:(091) 563 080
Fax:(091) 569 273
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advicegalway@threshold.ie

Page updated: 28 March 2014

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Related Documents

  • Landlords’ rights and obligations
    Landlords have certain rights and obligations, which derive from landlord and tenant law as well as from any tenancy agreement (written or spoken) between landlord and tenant.
  • Rent increases in Ireland
    Rent increases in Ireland are governed by the provisions of the Private Residential Tenancies Act 2004. Information about when a landlord can raise the rent and when tenants can request a review of the rent.
  • Resolving disputes between landlords and tenants
    Disputes can arise between landlords and tenants in rented accommodation. In many cases, these disputes can be resolved informally between the two parties. Find out more.

Contact Us

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.