Tenants’ rights and responsibilities
Tenants' rights, responsibilities and the law
Your main rights and responsibilities as a tenant come from landlord and tenant law, as well as from the lease or tenancy agreement you have with your landlord.
Residential tenancies legislation outlines most tenant’s rights and responsibilities. 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 your rights under the legislation. However, you and your landlord can agree on matters 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 landlord's home you are not covered by landlord and tenant legislation, though you are covered if you rent a self-contained flat in your landlord’s home. Read more in our page on sharing accommodation with your landlord.
Your rights as a private tenant
- You are entitled to quiet and exclusive enjoyment of your home. If noise from other tenants or neighbours is disturbing you, ask them to stop and inform your landlord. If this does not work, you can make a formal complaint
- 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 time. You are also entitled to have the correct contact information for them (telephone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc.)
- Your landlord is only allowed to enter your home with your permission. If your landlord needs to repair or inspect the property, it should be arranged in advance, unless it is an emergency
- You are entitled to be reimbursed for any repairs that you carry out that are the landlord's responsibility
- You are entitled to have visitors 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 if your tenancy is being terminated
- You are entitled to at least 90 days’ notice if your landlord wants to review the rent, and there are rules about how often they can do this
- You are entitled to refer any disputes to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) without being penalised
- You have the right to a copy of any register entry the RTB has about your tenancy
- All homes for rent must have a Building Energy Rating (BER), stating how energy-efficient the home is.
Your rights as a housing association tenant
If you are renting from an approved housing body (AHB), your tenancy comes under the residential tenancies legislation and you have most of the same rights that private tenants have. However, there are some differences:
- You may not assign or sublet the tenancy
- Rent reviews will take place in line with your tenancy agreement. If you do not have a tenancy agreement, your rent should not be reviewed more than once a year
- Most AHB tenants will get security of tenure after 6 months in the tenancy. Security of tenure means that you can stay in the property for a set amount of time. However, this does not apply if you are living in transitional accommodation and the tenancy is for 18 months or less
- The landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy after 6 months because they, or a family member needs to live in the property, does not apply to AHB tenancies
- The minimum standards for food preparation, storage and laundry purposes do not apply to AHBs, so they do not have to provide their tenants with white goods, such as washing machines
Your rights as a tenant in student-specific accommodation
Tenants in student-specific accommodation are protected in residential tenancies legislation. They have most of the same rights as private tenants. For example, you can access the RTB’s dispute resolution process and your tenancy must be registered with the RTB. However, there are some differences, for example, tenants in student-specific accommodation do not have security of tenure. This came in under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 (pdf).
If you are a tenant in student-specific accommodation you only need to give your landlord 28 days’ notice when ending a tenancy. You can give your landlord more notice if you want. This came in under the Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Act 2021.
Find out more about your rights as a tenant in student-specific accommodation on the RTB’s website.
Security of tenure
Security of tenure is a tenant’s right to stay in rented accommodation for a set amount of time. Generally, security of tenure applies automatically when you have been renting for 6 months and haven’t received a valid notice of termination from your landlord in that time. When you have security of tenure, your landlord can only terminate your tenancy for a limited number of reasons, see our page ‘If your landlord wants you to leave’.
The amount of time you are entitled to stay in rented accommodation after the first 6 months depends on when your tenancy began.
If your tenancy was created after 10 June 2022, you have a tenancy of unlimited duration. This means if you have rented somewhere for 6 months, you have the right to stay in that accommodation indefinitely (no end date), unless the landlord wants to terminate your tenancy for one of the allowed reasons.
If your tenancy was created before 10 June 2022, you have the right to stay in your rented accommodation for up to 6 years after you have rented for 6 months. At the end of these 6 years, your landlord can end your tenancy without giving a reason, as allowed under the old rules. But, if the landlord does not end your tenancy at this stage, it automatically becomes a tenancy of unlimited duration and has no end date.
Read more in our document Tenants' rights to stay in rented accommodation.
Paying and reclaiming your deposit
You will probably have to pay a security deposit when you agree to rent a property. The landlord holds this deposit as security to cover any rent arrears, bills owing or damage beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy.
You cannot be forced to make upfront payments of more than 2 month’s rent. This includes a deposit of a month’s rent and one month’s rent in advance. This restriction applies to all tenancies created from 9 August 2021 and is set out in 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.
Threshold provides useful tips on what to consider before you pay a deposit, including information on how to spot a scam. Your landlord must give you an inventory of the contents of the property. You should keep a record of the condition of everything that is listed, taking photos if possible, and agree this in writing with your landlord.
When you leave a property at the end of the agreed rental period or after giving the agreed notice, the landlord must return your security deposit, promptly and in full. Read Threshold’s advice on getting your deposit back.
However, if you leave before the end of the agreed period, the landlord may keep your deposit, even if you have given notice. (You may also be liable for the amount of rent due until the end of the lease, depending on what is stated in the lease agreement.)
The landlord may keep part or all of the deposit in the following situations:
- Rent arrears
- Unpaid bills
- Damage above normal wear and tear
- If you have not given enough notice
The landlord cannot hold your possessions against money you owe, but they can apply to the RTB if they feel that your deposit does not cover rent arrears or the cost of damage to the property.
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.
Your responsibilities as a tenant
- Pay your rent on time
- Pay any other charges that are specified in the letting agreement, for example, waste collection charges; utility bills; management fees to the management company in an apartment complex
- Keep the property in good order
- Inform the landlord if repairs are needed and give the landlord access to the property to do the repairs
- Give the landlord access (by appointment) for routine inspections
- Inform the landlord about 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, oral or written
- Give the landlord the information they need to register with the RTB
- Give the landlord proper notice when you are ending the tenancy
You should note that it may be more difficult to assert your rights if you have broken conditions of your tenancy.
Other charges and payments
The owner (your landlord) is responsible for paying the Local Property Tax to Revenue. There may be an agreement that you will pay this amount, but your liability will be to the landlord and not to Revenue.
The terms of your letting agreement will detail if you have to pay for services such as heating, electricity, gas or TV connections. In practice, if you are renting a house, you will probably pay for all these charges.
In some multi-unit developments, such as apartment complexes, the heating may be operated centrally and you may not have to pay separately for it. In some complexes, cable TV may be supplied. In most complexes, bin collection is organised by the management company and you may not have to pay charges for this.
There are annual charges in multi-unit developments to pay for:
- Routine maintenance
- Insurance and repair of common areas
- Provision of common services
- A sinking fund for non-routine refurbishment and maintenance expenses
Your landlord may pass these charges on to you if this is agreed, but if they are not paid, the owners’ management company will pursue the owner for them.
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, the landlord remains legally responsible for matters such as returning your deposit. The receiver may arrange to carry out repairs.
Read more in Banking and Payments Federation Ireland’s Residential Tenant’s Guide to Receivership (pdf).
You will be able to claim a Rent Tax Credit of €500 a year, if you pay rent for private rented accommodation. The credit will be available for 2022 until 2025. You will be able to claim the credit for rent paid in 2022 in early 2023, and during the year for subsequent years.
If your landlord lives outside the State, you must deduct tax for the rent and account for it to Revenue.
Read more about these tax issues in our page tax relief and other tax issues for people renting.
How to resolve a dispute with your landlord
If you feel your rights as a tenant have been broken, you have a number of ways to correct this. Our page on resolving disputes between landlords and tenants describes several options. These include taking your case to the Residential Tenancies Board, which provides a dispute resolution service for private, AHB and student-specific tenancies. Or contacting the RTB’s investigations and sanctions unit to make a complaint about a landlord breaking residential tenancies legislation.
The FLAC (Free Legal Advice Centres) website has a leaflet (pdf) on the basic rights and duties of landlords and tenants.
Find out more about your landlord’s rights and obligations.