Landlords’ rights and responsibilities
Landlords' rights, responsibilitiesand the law
If you own land or a building and lease it to a tenant, you are considered a landlord. Your main rights and responsibilities as a landlord come from landlord and tenant law, as well as from any lease or tenancy agreement (written or spoken) between you and your tenant.
Residential tenancies legislation outlines most landlord’s rights and obligations. You can read a consolidated version of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 on the Law Reform Commission's website. This includes all the updates to the Act.
Leases or other tenancy agreements cannot take away from landlords' or tenants' rights and obligations under the legislation. However, you and your tenant can agree on matters that are not covered by legislation in a lease or tenancy agreement, for example, who pays for the utility bills.
If you are renting a room in your home, the tenancy does not come under the residential tenancies legislation (though renting out a self-contained flat in your home is covered). Read more in our page Renting out a room in your home.
Approved housing bodies
Approved housing bodies (AHBs) are covered by residential tenancies legislation and have most of the same rights and responsibilities that private landlords have. However, there are some differences, including the rules on rent reviews, minimum standards and the landlord’s right to end a tenancy.
Tenants in student-specific accommodation are protected in residential tenancies legislation. This means that they have most of the same rights as private tenants. However, there are some differences, for example, tenants in student-specific accommodation do not have security of tenure, and landlords may be able to access communal areas without the permission of the tenants.
Tenants in student-specific accommodation only need to give you 28 days’ notice when they end their tenancy. This came in under the Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021.
Find out more about student accommodation tenancies on the RTB’s website.
Your rights as a landlord
You have the right to:
- Set the rent
- Receive the correct rent on the date it is due
- Receive any charges associated with the property (this means taxes and duties or payments)
- Terminate a tenancy during the first 6 months without giving a reason
- In certain circumstances – terminate a tenancy at a later stage
- Be informed about who is ordinarily living in the property (this does not include overnight visitors or short stays)
- Be informed about any repairs needed
- Be given reasonable access to the property to carry out repairs
- Carry out routine inspections at a mutually agreed time
- Refer disputes to the RTB – but only if you have registered the tenancy
- Review the rent. There are rules about how often you can review the rent in a private tenancy. These timeframes depend on when the tenancy started and if the property is in a Rent Pressure Zone or not. AHB rents are reviewed every 12 months, or according to the tenancy agreement.
- For private tenancies only – decide whether the tenant can sub-let or assign a tenancy. However, if you refuse to allow a tenant to assign or sublet a tenancy, this can give the tenant the right to terminate a fixed-term tenancy before it expires
You do not have the right to:
- Enter your tenant's home without permission
- Take or keep your tenant’s property – even if they haven’t paid the rent
- Charge more than the market rate for the property
- Penalise your tenant for bringing a dispute to the RTB
Responsibilities of a landlord
As a landlord, you must:
- Register the tenancy every year with the RTB and update them about any changes to the tenancy, such as a change in rent
- Provide your tenant with a rent book or statement of rent paid
- Make sure that the property meets certain minimum standards (though the standards for food preparation, storage and laundry purposes do not apply to AHBs)
- Repair and maintain the inside of the property to the standard it was in at the start of the tenancy
- Repair and maintain the structure of the property
- Provide a Building Energy Rating (BER) for the property
- Reimburse tenants for any repairs they make which are your responsibility
- Insure the property (if it is impossible to get insurance, or if the cost is unreasonable, this doesn’t apply)
- Provide the tenant with information about any agents who are authorised to deal with them on your behalf (such as management companies, agencies, personal representatives)
- Ensure that the tenant knows how to contact you or your agent
- Give private tenants 90 days’ notice of a rent review and follow the rules about how often you can do this (AHBs should give notice “as soon as is practicable”)
- Provide tenants with a valid written notice of termination and follow all the rules around terminating a tenancy
You must also make sure that the tenants meet their obligations. Anyone who is affected by your tenants’ failure to meet their obligations can make a complaint against you to the RTB.
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 gives the RTB extended powers to investigate, caution and sanction landlords who break their statutory obligations as a landlord. The RTB will investigate if a landlord:
- Does not comply with Rent Pressure Zone rules
- Does not register tenancies with the RTB and keep them up-to-date with changes to the rent
- Does not offer a tenancy back to a tenant, if the property becomes available to rent again, and the tenant was originally asked to leave the property because the landlord was selling the property, changing its use, substantially refurbishing it, or because they needed it for themselves or an immediate family member
- Provides false or misleading reasons for terminating a tenancy
Find out more about the RTB’s investigations and sanctions unit on the RTB’s website.
You cannot ask for upfront payments of more than 2 month’s rent when renting out a property. This includes a deposit of a month’s rent and one month’s rent in advance. This came in under the Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021. Students in student-specific tenancies can opt-out of this restriction and pay a larger upfront payment if they want.
You can only withhold a tenant’s deposit if:
- The tenant has not given you proper notice when ending the tenancy
- You have been left with unpaid rent or outstanding bills, for example for electricity or gas
- The tenant has caused damage beyond normal wear and tear
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 provides for a tenancy deposit protection scheme, where the RTB would manage and hold deposits for tenants and landlords. These provisions are not yet in effect.
Refusing a tenancy
The Equal Status Acts 2000–2015 apply to lettings and accommodation. Landlords cannot discriminate against potential tenants on grounds of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, race or membership of the Traveller community.
You cannot discriminate against a tenant or potential tenant because they are getting a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), Rent Supplement or any other social welfare payment. This means that you cannot state when advertising accommodation that HAP or Rent Supplement is not accepted and you cannot refuse to rent accommodation to someone because they are getting a social welfare payment. Read more on the website of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.
Ending a tenancy
If you want to end a tenancy, you must serve the tenant with a valid written Notice of Termination and give them the correct amount of notice. You must send a copy of this Notice of Termination along with a completed Notice of Termination Return Form (pdf) to the RTB at the same time. If this is not done the notice of termination is invalid. You can find out more on ending a tenancy the RTB's website.
Rental income and tax
Landlords pay tax on rental income under Revenue's self-assessment system. You can deduct the interest on mortgages used to purchase, improve or repair rented property when working out your rental income for tax purposes.
You must show that you have registered all tenancies in the property with the RTB. You can deduct 100% of the interest on these mortgages.
Interest is treated as accruing on a daily basis and the date the loan was taken out is not relevant. Interest can only be deducted during the period in which the property is let.
Landlords who rent residential property for 3 years to tenants who are getting social housing supports can deduct all of the interest that accrues during that 3-year period.
Social housing supports include:
You must submit an undertaking to the RTB, stating that you commit to renting a residential property to tenants on social housing supports for 3 years. The RTB will register these undertakings in its Register of Tenancies. You can get the form for registering an undertaking from the RTB.
If you rent out a room or flat in your home, you are exempt from income tax on the amount that your tenant pays you for rent and other services, up to €14,000 in a tax year. This exemption does not apply to income you get from renting your property for short-term lets.
If you are living outside Ireland and your tenant pays rent directly to you, the tenant must deduct tax from the gross rent and account for it to Revenue. If the rent is being paid to a collection agent, the collection agent must account for the tax. Read more in our document on tax issues for tenants.
Budget 2024: rental income tax relief
A temporary rental income tax relief is being introduced to support private landlords. The relief will be available against some rental income at the standard rate of 20% each year. It will be available from 2024 to 2027 and will only apply if you keep the rental property in the rental market for the next 4 years. You can get 20% of:
- €3,000 for 2024
- €4,000 for 2025
- €5,000 for 2026 and 2027
The relief will reduce the tax due on rental income by up to €600 in 2024, €800 in 2025, and €1,000 in 2026 and 2027. The relief will be clawed back if you leave the rental market during this time.
Read further information on Housing tax credits and reliefs.
Private tenancies and receivership
If the mortgage on the property is in arrears and the mortgage lender has appointed a receiver, your tenants must pay the rent to the receiver, but you remain legally responsible for matters such as returning the tenants’ deposits. The receiver may arrange to do repairs.
Read more in the Residential Tenant’s Guide to Receivership (pdf) published by Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.