Landlord and Tenancy Law
MB Solicitors are experts in Landlord and Tenancy Law having represented both Landlords and Tenants at Adjudications and Tenancy Tribunals and District Court. We can assess the strengths and weakness of your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.
We provide practicable advice on all disputes between Landlord and Tenant. We have compiled the below list of FAQ’s for your information.
What is the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)?
Previously the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was called the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).
The RTB is the statutory body responsible for maintaining a register of tenancies. It is also responsible for resolving disputes between Landlords and Tenants.
Does the Landlord have to register my tenancy with the RTB ?
A Landlord must register a tenancy with the RTB within 1 month of the start date of the tenancy.
What if my Landlord does not register my tenancy ?
If the Landlord does not register your tenancy within the correct time period the Landlord have to pay a late penalty. The RTB will not consider a dispute referred by a Landlord where the tenancy is not registered. However, the RTB will consider a dispute referred by a Tenant even though the Landlord has failed to register the tenancy.
What are the Landlord’s obligations regarding the standard of property ?
The Landlord is responsible for ensuring the following:
- The structure of the property is sound both internally and externally with roof, roofing tiles and slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, furnishings, gardens and common areas maintained in good condition and repair and not damaged caused by dampness
- Every occupied room must have a heat distribution system
- Appliances are kept in a safe condition and good working order
- The property is properly insulated
- There is adequate ventilation in any room occupied by a Tenant
- There is suitable fire safety system in place
- Repairs are carried out to the structure of the property
- Repairs are carried out to the interior of the property so as to at least maintain the property in the same condition as it was at the beginning of the tenancy
- Insure the property in respect of the structure of the property
Does the Landlord have to give the Tenant a written lease?
There is no obligation on the Landlord to provide the Tenant with a written lease. If there is no written lease then the Landlord and Tenant’s obligations will be set out in the Tenancies Acts 2004-2016. If the Landlord is provided with a written lease then that lease will govern the relationship between the Landlord and Tenant in addition to the Tenancy Acts. In other words, the Landlord can give additional rights to a Tenant by providing a written lease but cannot take away any of the Tenant’s rights under the legislation.
While it is not necessary to give a written lease, it can prove very helpful to both the Landlord and the Tenant where there is a dispute as the lease will contain information such as the start date, the term of the lease and rent payable.
What information should be in the Lease?
- The name of the Landlord and the Tenant
- The property address
- The start date of the lease
- The term of the lease, ie when the lease should end
- The amount of rent payable
- The method of paying rent
- The Tenants obligations
- The Landlords obligations
- Insurance, the Tenant should be responsible for their belongings
- On what conditions if any the property can be sub-let
What is Security of Tenure ?
Where a Tenant is in occupation of the property for 6 months that Tenant will be entitled to what is known as a “part 4 tenancy”. In other words, the Tenant will be entitled to occupy the property for a period of 4 years. If the tenancy is created after 24 December 2016 the 4-year period is increased to 6 years.
What are the Tenant’s obligations ?
- To pay the agreed rent
- To allow the Landlord or his agent inspect the property at reasonable intervals
- To inform the Landlord of any defects in the property
- To allow the Landlord access to the property to carry out repairs
- Not to do anything that would cause damage to the condition of the property other than fair wear and tear.
- Not to behave in an anti-social way
- Not to sublet the property without the Landlords consent
- Not to carry out works to the property without the Landlords consent
- Not to change the locks
What are the Landlord’s obligations ?
- Allow the Tenant occupy the property peacefully
- Repair damage to the structure of the property
- Repair damage to the interior so as to at least keep the property in the same condition as it was at the start of the tenancy
- Insure the property
- Repay the deposit
- Provide the Tenant with the Landlords contact details or his/her agent
- The Landlord cannot punish a Tenant for referring a dispute to the RTB
How can the Landlord terminate the lease ?
A Landlord can only end the lease on one of the following grounds:
- The Tenant has failed to comply with his obligations
- The property is not suitable for the Tenant
- The Landlord intends to sell the property
- The Landlord requires the property for his own use or for a family member
- The Landlord intends to refurbish or renovate the property
- The Landlord intends to change the use of the property
How can the Tenant terminate the lease ?
- Serving notice on the Landlord
- The Tenant will be considered to have ended the lease where he vacates the property without notifying the Landlord
What happens if a Tenant refuses to leave the property?
Where a valid notice of termination has been served the Tenant must vacate the property in compliance with the terms of the notice. If the Tenant refuses to leave he will be considered to be overholding. The Tenant must pay the rent while he is overholding.
Can I forcibly remove the Tenant after the notice period has expired ?
No. You should not forcibly remove the Tenant or change the locks.
Can I keep the Tenants deposit ?
The Landlord must promptly repay the Tenants deposit at the end of the lease. There are certain circumstances where the Landlord can retain all or part of the deposit eg where there are arrears owed to the Landlord or where the Landlord incurred costs in restoring the property, other than fair wear and tear.
How often can the Landlord request a Rent Review?
A Landlord cannot charge more than market rate. A rent review can only take place every 2 years by the Landlord. There is an exception where the property has been substantially refurbished. The Landlord must provide notice of the increase in rent to the Tenant.
What type of disputes with the RTB deal with?
The following are examples of cases the RTB will deal with
- Deposit retention
- Rent arrears
- Rent reviews
- Breach of Tenant obligations
- Breach of Landlord obligations
- Invalid terminations
- Invalid notice of termination
- Illegal eviction
What is Mediation ?
Mediation can be done over the phone so that the parties do not have to be physically present. The RTB Mediator will try to help both parties to resolve the dispute. If the Mediation is unsuccessful either party can apply for adjudication.
What is Adjudication ?
Adjudication is a hearing. Both parties are present and both give their side of the story. The Adjudicator will write a report after the hearing and submit it to the RTB Board. You will not be given a decision on the day of the hearing. You will receive a determination order in the post and will be give 10 days to appeal the decision.
You are entitled to have a solicitor present at the adjudication.
What is the Tribunal?
Where a decision of the Adjudicator is appealed, that appeal is heard by the Tribunal. The Tribunal’s decision in final and can only be appealed on a point of law.
How do I enforce and order?
In certain circumstances the RTB will assist with enforcement of the determination order. However, if a party does not comply with the determination order an application can be made to the District Court to enforce the determination order.
Steps to enforcement
- The RTB will issue a determination order. You will receive this by post.
- Issue a warning letter to the other side. This letter will state that if they other party does not comply with the RTB order you will apply to the District Court to have the order enforced.
- Draft your proceedings. Your solicitor will prepare and lodge the application with the Court.
- Draft your grounding affidavit. This is a sworn statement signed by the person applying to the Court. Your solicitor will draft the grounding affidavit.
- The application is served on the other party usually personally or by registered post.
- Attend on the court date for the hearing.
- Serve the court order on the other party