Renting out a room in your home


If you rent out a room in your home, you have certain rights and responsibilities. These are different depending on if you are renting a self-contained unit, or a room in your home.

If you are renting a room in your home, you may be able to claim the rent-a-room tax relief. This allows you to earn up to €14,000 per year in rent tax-free, if you rent out a room in your home to private tenants.

There are additional rules for the rent-a-room relief if you are a local authority tenant renting a room to a student, or if you are renting a room to someone getting the Housing Assistance Payment.

If you are getting a means-tested weekly social assistance payment, you can get up to €14,000 per year for renting out a room in your own home without it affecting your social welfare payment.

Renting out a self-contained unit

If you rent out a self-contained unit in your home, such as a converted garage attached to your home or a basement flat, the rights and responsibilities of a landlord under residential tenancies legislation apply. For example, you must register the tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) every year and make sure that the accommodation meets minimum physical standards.

However, if the self-contained flat or apartment was originally part of the main house, you can choose to opt out of one requirement of residential tenancies legislation. This is the requirement that gives tenants the right to stay in rented accommodation for a set amount of time. This exemption is available under Section 25 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. You must give the tenant notice in writing, before the start of the tenancy, if you want to opt out of the rules about security of tenure.

Renting out a room in your home

If the part of your home that you rent out is not self-contained, you are not covered by landlord and tenant legislation, so the rights and responsibilties under that legislation do not apply to you. For example, you do not have to register as a landlord with the RTB and the accommodation does not need to meet any minimum physical standards.

A person renting a room in your home is living there under a license agreement, not a tenancy agreement. This means that they are only entitled to reasonable notice if you decide to terminate the agreement. However, they can refer disputes under the Small Claims Procedure.

Your tenants can find out more about their rights in our page Sharing accommodation with your landlord. Threshold also provides information and advice for people renting.

Renting a room in your local authority home to a student

Since 1 December 2023, social housing tenants can rent a room in their home to a third-level student. This is known as the Room for a Student Local Authority Tenancies Scheme. If you qualify, you will be able to get rent-a-room tax relief, which means up to €14,000 of your rent payments per year are tax-free.

Do I qualify?

There are some conditions the local authority tenant and the student must meet to qualify for this scheme.

If you are a local authority tenant:

  • You must not have any rent arrears, or if there are arrears you must have a payment plan in place
  • You must be complying with the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement with the local authority
  • Your local authority home must be in good condition and be well maintained
  • Your home must not become overcrowded, if you rent a room to a student

If you are a student, you must:

  • Be a registered full-time student at a higher education institution. You must provide proof of this.
  • Be over 18
  • Not be related to the local authority tenant you are renting from
  • Not have engaged in anti-social behaviour
  • Be tax compliant

How does scheme work?

If you want to rent a room in your local authority home to a third-level student, there are certain steps you must follow:

  1. You advertise the room you want to rent. You can advertise the room on student accommodation websites, college and university websites and in other media.
  2. The student must view the room before agreeing to rent it. You and the student must agree that the accommodation and renting arrangement suit you both.
  3. You and the student must apply separately to your local authority to take part in the scheme. You will find the application forms on your local authority’s website.
  4. If the application is successful, the student can rent your room for the academic year. At the end of the academic year, the student should leave the property.

If you and the student want to continue the arrangement for the next academic year, you must get the local authority’s consent.

Setting the rent and having a licence agreement

You can decide how much rent to charge. If your income from rent is less than €14,000 a year, you can claim rent-a-room relief. This means this income is tax-free.

However, this rental income will be considered when calculating the differential rent you pay the local authority. So, if your application is approved, the local authority will review your rent to take this additional income into account.

You and the student will have a licence agreement rather than a tenancy agreement. You must put this arrangement in writing, see ‘Making an agreement when renting your room'. This written agreement can be referred to if there is a dispute.

The tenancy agreement you have with your local authority might need to be updated, so you can participate in the scheme.

How to apply

If you want to apply for the Room for a Student Local Authority Tenancies Scheme, go to your local authority’s website for the application forms and more details on how to apply.

The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage has published an FAQ about the scheme.

Making an agreement when renting your room

Before you rent out a room in your home, you and the person renting the room should agree some ground rules and put them in writing. If you both sign and keep a copy of this agreement, you can refer to it if there is a disagreement. These ground rules might include:

  • How long is the licence arrangement going to last?
  • How much notice you must give if either of you chooses to end the arrangement?
  • How much rent will be paid and how often?
  • How will rent be paid? Will it be in cash, or by cheque or standing order?
  • When will the rent be reviewed and how much notice will you give of a rent review?
  • How are utility bills divided between you?
  • Can the person who is renting have visitors to stay overnight?
  • Are there any restrictions about noise levels?

Renting a room to a student

If you are renting a room to a student, there is a voluntary regulatory framework and a sample license agreement (pdf) to help set ground rules between you and the student. You should make a written licence agreement before the student moves in.

Along with the ground rules listed above, the licence agreement also includes the following:

  • How much the deposit will be
  • The date the deposit will be returned to the student after the licence agreement has ended
  • The possible reasons why you may keep part of the deposit, for example, unpaid rent or damage to property
  • The method used to record that the rent has been paid
  • A list of furniture, provided by the landlord, which the student has exclusive use of
  • Any general rules about your access to the bedroom

The licence agreement can be adjusted to suit the needs of the landlord and the student.

Rental income and social welfare payments

If you are getting a means-tested weekly social assistance payment, Supplementary Welfare Allowance or Working Family Payment, you can get up to €269.23 a week (€14,000 per year) for renting out a room in your own home without it affecting your social welfare payment.

This also applies if you are getting the Living Alone Increase, Household Benefits Package or Fuel Allowance. However, with Fuel Allowance, the person renting the room from you must be getting a qualifying social welfare payment or must qualify for Fuel Allowance in their own right. You should check if renting a room in your home will affect any other payments.

Situations where my payment will be affected

In certain situations rental income of less than €14,000 a year for renting a room will be taken into account and can affect your social welfare payment. This applies if you rent a room in your home:

  • As a short-term let. Short-term lets are stays that do not exceed 28 days in a row
  • To an employee
  • To an immediate family member

Immediate family members in this situation include:

  • Your spouse, civil partner or partner
  • Your child, or the spouse of your child
  • Your parent, step-parent or parent-in-law
  • Your sibling, including step-siblings or siblings-in-law
  • Your grandparent or your grandchild
  • Your aunt or uncle
  • Your nephew or niece

Accommodation Recognition Payment

The Accommodation Recognition Payment is a tax-free payment of €800 per month for hosting refugees from Ukraine. This payment is not taken into account in the means test for any grants or payments from the Department of Social Protection or other public bodies.

Rules if you rent a room to someone getting the Housing Assistance Payment

The person renting a room in your home may qualify for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). If they are applying for the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), you will need to provide certain information to the local authority. The local authority will pay you HAP directly. This information includes:

  • The amount of the monthly rent
  • Your bank account payment details
  • An undertaking regarding the property’s compliance with standards for rental accommodation
  • An undertaking regarding your tax compliance
  • Proof that you own the property

The local authority will inspect the property within 8 months of the first HAP payment, unless the accommodation has already been inspected in the last 12 months. An inspector will check that the accommodation meets the minimum physical standards for rental accommodation.

You must show that your tax affairs are in order by producing evidence of tax clearance from Revenue. Tax compliance is checked in ‘real-time’ on Revenue’s electronic tax clearance system.

Read more in our page on HAP and in the landlord information booklet (pdf).

Page edited: 1 May 2024