Tenants' rights to stay in rented accommodation

What is 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. This is because rules about security of tenure have changed.

If your tenancy was created after 10 June 2022, you will 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 the rented accommodation for up to 6 years after you have rented for 6 months. After these 6 years, the tenancy ends and a new tenancy can begin. Your landlord can terminate the tenancy at the end of the six-year period 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 (no end date).

By June 2028, all tenancies will be tenancies of unlimited duration. This is because all existing 6-year cycle tenancies will have ended by then.

Security of tenure and the law

Initially tenants had the right to stay in rented accommodation for up to 4 years, following an initial 6-month period. This right was introduced under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and meant that your tenancy became a Part 4 tenancy. This could be followed by a further Part 4 tenancy after the first 4 years, see Part 4 and further Part 4 tenancies below. The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 extended a Part 4 tenancy (security of tenure) from 4 years to 6 years for tenancies created from 24 December 2016.

Then the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 2021 brought in tenancies of unlimited duration for tenancies created from 11 June 2022.

What tenancies does the residential tenancies legislation cover?

Residential tenancies legislation covers private residential tenancies. A private residential tenancy is a tenancy that is agreed privately between a landlord and a tenant. It includes tenancies under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS). If you are getting Rent Supplement, you are probably renting from a private landlord, so you would be covered by the residential tenancies legislation.

Residential tenancies legislation also covers approved housing bodies tenancies and tenancies in student-specific accommodation. But, there are some differences in how the legislation is applied to these tenancies, see below. .

Exceptions to security of tenure rights

If you are renting a flat or apartment that was originally part of the landlord's main house, your landlord can choose to opt out of the Part 4 provisions on security of tenure. Read more in our page on Sharing accommodation with your landlord.

Tenants of certain properties let by housing associations do not get Part 4 rights. For example, people living in transitional housing. Transitional housing is temporary supported accommodation that helps people move from homelessness to independent living in permanent accommodation.

Part 4 rights do not apply to tenants in student-specific accommodation even though other parts of residential tenancies legislation covers these tenancies.

Tenancies of unlimited duration

You automatically get security of tenure and can stay in your rented property indefinitely if all of the following apply:

  • Your tenancy was created after 10 June 2022
  • You have been renting for at least 6 months
  • You haven't been served with a valid written notice of termination

This is known as a tenancy of unlimited duration.

If your tenancy was created before 11 June 2022, the previous security of tenure rules apply until the current 6-year cycle of the tenancy ends. If the landlord does not terminate the tenancy under the old rules, your tenancy will automatically become a tenancy of unlimited duration after 6 years. See Part 4 and further Part 4 tenancies below for details about the old rules.

If the old rules apply to your tenancy, you can switch to a tenancy of unlimited duration if your landlord agrees.

The Residential Tenancies Board’s website has information and an FAQ about tenancies of unlimited duration.

Part 4 and further Part 4 tenancies

Part 4 tenancy

If your tenancy was created before 11 June 2022 and you have been renting for at least 6 months and haven't been served with a valid written notice of termination, you automatically get security of tenure and can stay in the property for 6 years. This is known as a Part 4 tenancy.

A Part 4 tenancy refers to Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, which deals with security of tenure. If you have a periodic tenancy (a tenancy without a fixed length of time), you do not have to claim the Part 4 tenancy in writing, but you do need to claim it if you have a fixed-term lease – see below.

Under the old rules, security of tenure continued in 6-year cycles. But, from 11 June 2022, when your tenancy ends after 6 years, it will automatically become a tenancy of unlimited duration, if the landlord does not terminate it under the old rules.

Further Part 4 tenancy

For tenancies created before 11 June 2022, a new tenancy begins after the first 6-year cycle of your Part 4 tenancy. This new tenancy will now be a tenancy of unlimited duration, unless the landlord terminates it, see ‘Landlords' right to end a tenancy every 6 years’ below. However, under the old rules, you would have a further Part 4 tenancy.

When you have a Part 4 tenancy or further Part 4 tenancy, your landlord can only terminate your tenancy in certain circumstances. Read more about when a landlord can terminate your tenancy in our page If your landlord wants you to leave.

If you have a fixed-term agreement and want to leave, you do not have to give a reason, but you must give the correct period of notice in writing – see ‘Ending your tenancy’ below.

Landlords' right to end a tenancy every 6 years

If your tenancy was created before 11 June 2022, your landlord can terminate your tenancy after 6 years for any reason. This is only allowed if:

  • The landlord served a notice of termination before the end of the 6 years, and
  • The notice period expired on or after the end of the tenancy

If the tenancy is not ended and a new tenancy begins after 6 years, the new tenancy will be of unlimited duration and this rule will not be apply.

Tenancy agreements

When you rent your home from a private landlord or an approved housing body, you have an agreement or contract with that person or body, known as a tenancy agreement – which may or may not be in writing. The most common types of tenancy are fixed-term tenancies and periodic tenancies – both described in more detail below. A tenancy agreement cannot contain terms that contradict the legal rights of tenants and landlords.

Fixed-term tenancy

A fixed-term tenancy is an agreement that covers a specific amount of time. It is generally (but not always) set down in a written contract, called a lease. It may be for any period, but can range from as little as 6 months up to a year or more. It is important to note the following points about a fixed-term tenancy:

  • Your landlord cannot end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term unless you have breached your obligations
  • In general, you cannot end the tenancy before the end of the term unless:
    • The landlord has breached their obligations
    • You are exercising a break clause
    • You have got someone to replace you
    • You and the landlord both agree to end it
  • If a private landlord refuses to consent to an assignment or sub-let of the tenancy, you can terminate the tenancy under Section 186 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. This does not apply to tenants of approved housing bodies (housing associations), as they cannot assign or sublet their tenancy.
  • In general, you get security of tenure after 6 months – see above
  • If you want to stay in the property after the end of the fixed term, you must notify the landlord at least a month before the term expires

Leases

The lease will say how much rent you have to pay, how often you have to pay it and other conditions. Make sure that you understand the terms of the lease before you sign it. A lease is a binding contract between you and the landlord and contains important information on the terms of your tenancy. In particular, it should say what will happen if either of you breaks the terms of the agreement.

However, a lease should not contain terms that contradict the legal rights of tenants and landlords. If this happens, your legal rights as a tenant or landlord will overrule the terms in the lease. For example, your landlord cannot enter the property at any time without your permission. This is the case even if your lease states that the landlord may enter the property at any time.

If you sign a lease together with other people, you each become responsible for all the rent. So, if your fellow tenants cannot pay their share of the rent, you may be legally liable for the entire amount. If you sign a lease on your own on behalf of the other tenants, you become responsible for all the rent.

If the yearly rent on the lease for residential accommodation is over €30,000, the tenant is responsible for stamp duty on the annual rent. It is your responsibility as a tenant to pay this to Revenue.

Read more about leases on the website of Threshold, the national housing charity.

Periodic tenancy

A periodic tenancy agreement does not specify a fixed length of time. The period of the tenancy may be weekly or monthly, depending on how often the rent is due. Periodic tenancy agreements may or may not be in writing.

Your landlord can end the tenancy at any time during the first 6 months of the tenancy without having to give a reason, but, in general, you will get security of tenure after 6 months – see ‘Part 4 tenancy’ below. You must always get a valid written notice of termination and there are rules about how much notice you must be given, depending on the length of the tenancy (with some exceptions). Read more in our page If your landlord wants you to leave.

As a tenant, you can end the periodic tenancy at any time. You do not have to give a reason. Again, there are rules about notice periods and what constitutes a valid notice of termination – see ‘Ending your tenancy’ below.

Claiming a Part 4 tenancy at the end of a fixed-term lease

If you have a fixed-term contract or lease and you want to remain in the property under a Part 4 tenancy, you should notify your landlord of your intention to stay in the property. You should do this between 3 months and 1 month before your fixed–term tenancy or lease agreement expires. You can use this sample letter of notification to remain in the property under Part 4.

If you do not notify your landlord, you cannot be refused coverage under Part 4, but you may have to compensate the landlord for any financial loss that they have because you did not notify them of your intention to remain in the tenancy.

Ending your tenancy

The following section outlines what a tenant must do to end a tenancy. There are different rules for landlords who want to end a tenancy. The RTB also has information on their website about how a tenant can end a tenancy.

Format of termination notice

As a tenant, you can terminate your tenancy (whether fixed-term or periodic) without giving a reason, but you must give a valid notice of termination to your landlord. In order to be valid, this notice must:

  • Be in writing
  • Be signed by you
  • Specify the date that you are serving it on the landlord
  • Specify the termination date of the tenancy (you have the full 24 hours of this date to vacate possession)
  • State that any issue about the validity of the notice can be referred to the RTB within 28 days of receipt of the notice

You can use Threshold’s sample notice of termination.

Ending a fixed-term tenancy

If you have a fixed-term tenancy agreement or a lease, you are also subject to the terms of this agreement. This means that you may lose your deposit if you leave before the term stated in the lease, even if you give the correct amount of notice as detailed above. However, there are some exceptions, for example:

  • If there is a break clause in your lease, you can use it to end the tenancy
  • If you and the landlord both agree to end the tenancy sooner
  • If the landlord has breached their obligations under the lease, and has not rectified the issue within a reasonable time, then you only need to give 28 days’ notice
  • If the landlord’s behaviour causes imminent danger of death or serious injury, or danger to the fabric of the dwelling, then you only need to give 7 days’ notice
  • If a private landlord has refused permission to assign or sublet

How much notice you must give your landlord

You must give your landlord the following amount of notice when ending a tenancy, see table below. There are different notice periods when a landlord ends a tenancy, for more information on this see our page If your landlord wants you to leave.

Length of tenancy Required period of notice by tenant
Less than 6 months 4 weeks (28 days)
6 months or longer but less than 1 year 5 weeks (35 days)
1 year or longer but less than 2 years 6 weeks (42 days)
2 years or longer but less than 4 years 8 weeks (56 days)
4 years or longer but less than 8 years 12 weeks (84 days)
8 years or longer 16 weeks (112 days)

Notice periods in student-specific accommodation

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. The RTB has a guidance document (pdf) and FAQs (pdf) about this legislation.

Further information

The RTB has information on their website about how a tenant can end a tenancy. It also has further useful resources and a webchat facility.

Threshold has general information on ending a tenancy, which links to several useful resources, including its leaflet Ending a tenancy (pdf).


Useful contacts

Threshold

21 Stoneybatter
Dublin 7
Ireland

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel: 1800 454 454
Fax: (01) 677 2407

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

Threshold

5 Prospect Hill
Galway
Ireland
H91 HC1H

Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9.30 am - 5 pm
Tel: (091) 563 080
Fax: (091) 569 273

Residential Tenancies Board

PO Box 47
Clonakilty
Co. Cork
Ireland

Opening Hours: 9am to 5pm
Tel: 0818 303 037 or 01 702 8100
Fax: 0818 303 039

Page edited: 15 June 2022