If you pay rent to a landlord for the use of accommodation or property you are a tenant. The main legislation governing these rights and obligations is set down in the Landlord and Tenants Acts 1967 – 1994 and the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (PDF, 1.02MB).
The following is a general overview of your rights, duties and obligations as a tenant. Leases or other tenancy agreements cannot take away from your rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. However, you and your landlord can agree on matters that are not dealt with in the Act. You should note that the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act only apply to mainstream private rented housing and that local authority tenants and tenants who live in their landlord’s home (e.g. under the Rent a Room Scheme) are covered by different laws.
Rights as a tenant in private rented accommodation
- You are entitled to quiet and exclusive enjoyment of your home.
- 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 times. You are also entitled to the appropriate contact information you need to do so (telephone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc.).
- Your landlord is only allowed to enter your home with your permission. If the landlord needs to carry out repairs or inspect the premises, it should be by prior arrangement, except in an emergency.
- You are entitled to reimbursement for any repairs that you carry out that are the landlords’ responsibility.
- You are entitled to have friends to stay overnight or for short periods, unless specifically forbidden in your tenancy agreement. You must tell your landlord about an extra person moving in.
- You are entitled to a certain amount of notice of the termination of your tenancy.
- You are entitled to refer any disputes to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB)without being penalised for doing so.
- You have the right to a copy of any register entry held by the PRTB dealing with your tenancy.
Security of tenure
You have the right to security of tenure in four-year cycles under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. A tenancy that is guaranteed in this way is called a Part 4 tenancy.
Obligations of a tenant in private rented accommodation
- pay your rent on time.
- keep the property in good order.
- inform the landlord if repairs are needed and give the landlord access to the property to carry out repairs.
- give the landlord access (by appointment) for routine inspections.
- inform the landlord of 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, verbal or written.
- give the landlord the information required to register with the PRTB and sign the registration form when asked to do so.
- tell the landlord before the last month of a fixed-term tenancy of more than six months if you intend to avail of protection under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (e.g. stay in the property for up to four years). You should note that it may be more difficult to assert your rights if you have broken conditions of your tenancy.
How to apply
If you feel your rights as a tenant have been infringed, you do have some methods of redress. In the case of disputes regarding private tenancy agreements, you may take your case to the Private Residential Tenancies Board who provide a dispute resolution service for the private rented sector.
If you feel your rights as a local authority tenant have been infringed, you should contact the Housing Department of your local authority.
If your landlord is not maintaining the property to the proper standards you can contact your local authority (Local authorities are responsible for standards in the private rented sector and in local authority housing).
Where to apply
The Private Residential Tenancies Board can help with any disputes about infringement of private residential tenancy agreements.