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27th Sep 2017

Your rights as a tenant: what you should know about renting

Know your rights.

Jade Hayden

Finding a new place to live is tough.

First you have to trawl through hours upon hours of properties for rent.

Then you have to narrow it down to the few places that are actually affordable and in suitable locations.

If you can get a deposit and a month’s rent together – and manage to convince the other people living there that you’re the roommate of their dreams – you’re all set.

Well, almost.

Knowing your rights as a tenant is absolutely crucial to make sure you don’t get scammed, caught out, or stuck in a less than ideal living situation.

So here’s 7 things you are entitled to while renting in Ireland.

1.  Appropriate standards of living. 

When renting a house, apartment, flat or room, tenants are entitled to a space that is in good physical condition, inside and out.

This means that roofs, tiles, slates, windows, doors, ceilings, gutters, fittings, furnishings, gardens, and electricity supplies must be in decent condition and cannot be defective due to dampness.

Renting regulations also say that landlords must provide access to appliances like a washing machine, a hob with an oven and grill, a fridge and freezer, and a microwave.

2. A quiet place to live. 

If someone you live with is being irritatingly noisy, you are within your rights to tell them to stop or to make a noise complaint.

The same goes for noisy neighbours or those engaging in anti-social behaviour.

You can make a complaint directly to your landlord or make a formal complaint to the Gardaí or the District Court.

3. Your deposit back at the end of your lease. 

At the end of your agreed renting period, you are entitled to your full deposit back.

However, your landlord may be permitted to keep your deposit if you leave the property before the end of the agreed period, if you have not paid your rent or bills in full, or if you have damaged the property.

There are no regulations about the amount the deposit must be but they tend to equal at least one month’s rent.

4. Access to a rent book.

A rent book is a document that logs all of your rental payments and provides information about the property.

The rent book should also include information about bills, your landlord’s contact details, and the deposit amount you paid.

All tenants have a right to access the rent book unless you are renting a room in your landlord’s home

You are also entitled to a list of the property’s contents before you move in.

5. Written notice.

If, for whatever reason, your landlord wants you to leave the property before your lease is up, they have to give you written notice.

The notice must be signed, dated, and either handed to you in person or posted to the property.

If you have been living in the property for less than six months, your landlord does not have to give a reason for your notice… unless you have a fixed-term tenancy where a renting period has been agreed for more than six months, that is.

As a tenant, you have a right to 28-days’ notice before you have to leave the property.

However, only seven-days’ notice is required if you are being “seriously” anti-social.

Emails, texts, or phone calls do not count as valid notices of termination.

6. To have visitors over. 

Tenants are, of course, allowed to have other people over to the property (unless otherwise previously agreed by the landlord).

Visitors are allowed to stay over for the night or for short amounts of time.

If someone else is planning on moving into the property with you, you have to let your landlord know.

7. To allow your landlord access to the property.

Tenants have a right to privacy, but your landlord also has the right to request permission to enter the property.

The landlord must arrange an appropriate time to access the property with you beforehand, and get your permission before he or she goes inside.

This also applies if the landlord wants to make repairs, but not if there is an emergency (Citizens Information does not specify what constitutes an emergency situation).

Of course, as a tenant, you also have certain obligations to your landlord too.

When renting a place, you must ensure that you pay your rent on time, keep the property in order, comply with any pre-agreed terms, and give proper notice when you plan to leave the property.

It’s also worth noting that if you break any of the conditions of your lease, it may be harder to assert your rights as a tenant, so it’s a probably a good idea to ensure that you’re on top of your obligations too.

You can find a full list of your rights on the Citizens Information website.