Understanding Your Rights as a Tenant

Understanding Your Rights as a Tenant

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As a tenant, it’s essential to know your rights and responsibilities. This guide simplifies the information for easy understanding.

Tenant Rights and the Law

Your primary rights and responsibilities as a tenant come from landlord and tenant law, as well as your lease or tenancy agreement.

  • Most of your rights and duties are outlined in residential tenancy legislation. You can find the full Residential Tenancies Act 2004, along with updates, on the Law Reform Commission’s website.
  • Leases and tenancy agreements cannot take away your rights under the law. However, you and your landlord can agree on additional matters in your lease, such as utility bill arrangements.
  • If you’re renting a room in your landlord’s home, some different rules apply compared to renting a self-contained flat.

Your Rights as a Private Tenant

As a private tenant, you have several important rights:

  • Enjoy quiet and exclusive use of your home. If noise from neighbors disturbs you, ask them to stop and inform your landlord. If the issue persists, you can make a formal complaint.
  • Expect certain minimum standards for your accommodation.
  • Receive a rent book.
  • Have the right to contact your landlord or their agent at reasonable times and have their correct contact information.
  • Your landlord can only enter your home with your permission, except in emergencies.
  • If you carry out repairs that are your landlord’s responsibility, you’re entitled to reimbursement.
  • You can have visitors stay overnight or for short periods, unless your tenancy agreement explicitly prohibits it. Notify your landlord if someone new moves in.
  • Receive a specific amount of notice if your tenancy is being terminated.
  • Be provided at least 90 days’ notice if your landlord wants to review the rent, with rules about how often they can do this.
  • Refer disputes to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) without facing penalties.
  • Obtain a copy of the RTB’s register entry for your tenancy.
  • All rental homes must have a Building Energy Rating (BER) indicating energy efficiency.

Rights as a Housing Association Tenant

If you rent from an approved housing body (AHB), you enjoy most of the same rights as private tenants, but there are some differences:

  • You cannot assign or sublet the tenancy.
  • Rent reviews follow your tenancy agreement, and without one, your rent should not be reviewed more than once a year.
  • Most AHB tenants gain security of tenure after six months, except for transitional accommodation lasting 18 months or less.
  • The landlord’s right to terminate a tenancy after six months for personal use does not apply to AHB tenancies.
  • AHBs do not have to provide white goods (e.g., washing machines) as they’re exempt from certain minimum standards.

Rights as a Tenant in Student-Specific Accommodation

Tenants in student-specific accommodation have rights under residential tenancy legislation, similar to private tenants:

  • Access to the RTB’s dispute resolution process.
  • Mandatory registration of your tenancy with the RTB.
  • Note that you don’t have security of tenure due to changes in the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019.
  • When ending a tenancy, you only need to give your landlord 28 days’ notice, with the option to give more notice under the Residential Tenancies (No. 2) Act 2021.

Understanding Security of Tenure

Security of tenure allows you to stay in your rented accommodation for a set period. It typically applies automatically after six months of renting.

  • For tenancies created after June 10, 2022, you have an unlimited-duration tenancy, meaning you can stay indefinitely unless specific reasons allow your landlord to terminate.
  • For tenancies created before June 10, 2022, you have the right to stay for up to six years after renting for six months. After these six years, your tenancy becomes unlimited, with no end date.

Paying and Reclaiming Your Deposit

  • Pay your rent on time.
  • Cover specified charges from your letting agreement, such as waste collection or utility bills.
  • Maintain the property.
  • Report needed repairs and grant access to the landlord for repairs.
  • Allow the landlord access (by appointment) for routine inspections.
  • Inform the landlord about the people living in the property.
  • Avoid causing damage or disturbances.
  • Comply with any special terms in your tenancy agreement.
  • Provide the necessary information for the landlord to register with the RTB.
  • Give proper notice when ending the tenancy.

Handling Other Charges and Payments

  • Understand your responsibility for Local Property Tax.
  • Check your letting agreement for details on services like heating, electricity, gas, or TV connections. In most cases, you’ll likely pay for these charges.

Dealing with Disputes

If you believe your tenant rights are violated, you can take action:

  • Contact the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for dispute resolution.
  • Reach out to Threshold for free advice and information.
  • For property standards issues, contact your local authority.

Additional Resources

  • The RTB offers a Good Landlord/Tenant Guide and webchat support.
  • FLAC provides a leaflet on basic rights and duties of landlords and tenants.
  • Learn more about your landlord’s rights and obligations.

Useful Contacts

Residential Tenancies Board

  • Website: www.rtb.ie
  • Tel: 0818 303 037 or 01 702 8100
  • Fax: 0818 303 039
  • Address: PO Box 47, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, Ireland


  • Website: www.threshold.ie
  • Tel: 1800 454 454
  • Fax: (01) 677 2407
  • Address: 21 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7, Ireland
  • Outreach Clinic: Dublin, Blanchardstown, Cork, Galway
  • Understanding Your Rights as a Tenant

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