Types of Tenancy in Ireland

 

Types of Tenancy in IrelandThe agreement between a landlord and a tenant is called a lease or a tenancy. A tenancy does not have to be written down. There are different types of tenancies in Ireland. The most common are

  • Periodic tenancies, or
  • Fixed-term tenancies.

Periodic Tenancy
A periodic tenancy is not for a fixed amount of time. The period of the tenancy may be weekly or monthly depending on when you pay the rent. Usually periodic tenancies are informal oral agreements but sometimes they are in writing.

Fixed-term tenancies
A fixed-term tenancy is an agreement that covers a specific amount of time. The agreement is generally set down in writing. This written contract is called a lease. A lease may be for any period, but can range from as little as six months up to a year or more. The lease will state how much rent you have to pay, how often you have to pay it and other conditions. You are strongly advised to 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 contain information on what will happen if either of you break the terms of the agreement.)

However a lease cannot contain terms that contradict the legal rights of tenants and landlords. If this happens, your legal rights as a landlord or tenant supersede the terms in the lease. For example, landlords cannot enter the property at any time without seeking your permission. This is the case even where their right to enter the property at any time is stated in your lease.

Note: A lease is chargeable to stamp duty. The duty chargeable on the premium is at the rate for residential or non-residential property as appropriate. If the yearly rent on the lease for residential accommodation is over €30,000 euro, the tenant is responsible for stamp duty on the annual rent. It is your responsibility as a tenant to pay this, and it should be paid to the Revenue Commissioners. (The Revenue Commissioners are responsible for the collection of taxes on behalf of the Irish Government.) A lease of a dwelling-house, part of a dwelling-house or apartment for a term not exceeding 35 years or for any indefinite term at a rent not exceeding €30,000 per annum is exempt from duty for instruments executed on or after the 13 March 2008. Prior to this date the threshold was €19,050.

If you sign a lease with others, (that is, you are sharing the accommodation and rent 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 behalf of the other tenants you become responsible for all the rent.

The differences between the two types of tenancies have become less important since the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (pdf) came into effect. Under this legislation tenants have much more security than they used to have. You now have the right to stay in rented accommodation for the remainder of a four-year period, following an initial six-month probationary period. This type of tenancy is known as a Part 4 tenancy.

Part 4 tenancies
Your landlord can terminate a tenancy without giving a reason during the first six months of the tenancy. However, once the tenancy has lasted for six months they can only terminate the tenancy on specified grounds over the next three and a half years. Read more about if your landlord wants you to leave here. After four years of your tenancy has passed, a new tenancy starts. The same four-year cycle can begin again leading to a further Part 4 tenancy. Any tenancy therefore, that has lasted more than six months is a Part 4 tenancy or a further Part 4 tenancy. Tenants can terminate the tenancy at any time without giving a reason, subject to the rules for giving notice (See ‘Rules’ below).

Renting a room in your landlord’s home
If you rent a room in your landlord’s home and live with your landlord, for example under the ‘Rent a Room Scheme’, you are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. Read more about the ‘Rent a Room Scheme’.

Rules

  1. Notice: Tenants must be given notice of the ending of a tenancy, regardless of the reason. The length of notice depends on the length of the tenancy.Length of tenancy And Notice by landlord:
    Less than 6 months 4 weeks (28 days)
    6 months to a year 5 weeks (35 days)
    1 – 2 years 6 weeks (42 days)
    2 – 3 years 8 weeks (56 days)
    3 – 4 years 12 weeks (84 days)
    4 years or more 16 weeks (112 days)Shorter notice may be given if the tenants are not keeping their obligations (28 days) or if there is serious anti-social behaviour (7 days). Disputes between landlords and tenants about notice can be referred to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB).Tenants can terminate a tenancy without giving a reason but must give notice.

    Length of tenancy And Notice by tenant:
    Less than 6 months 4 weeks (28 days)
    6 months to a year 5 weeks (35 days)
    1 – 2 years 6 weeks (42 days)
    2 or more years 8 weeks (56 days)

    If tenants have a fixed-term agreement or a lease, they are also subject to the terms of this agreement. This means they may lose their deposit if they leave before the term stated in the lease, even if they give the correct amount of notice.

    Read more about tenants’ rights and obligations here and about landlords’ rights and obligations here.

  2. Market Rent: Landlords cannot charge rent that is above the market rate. Landlords can seek a rent review after the first twelve months of a tenancy. Tenants can seek a review annually. Reviews cannot take place more frequently than annually unless there has been a substantial change in the nature of the accommodation during that period. If you are in receipt of a social welfare payment, you may be entitled to a rent supplement to help you with the rent.
  3. Minimum standards: The local authority is responsible for enforcing standards. Read more about minimum standards in rented accommodation here.

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