Accommodation Rights

Know Your Rights!!
There are many different accommodation options open to you, and your rights can vary depending on the option that you choose. This section provides some basic information on what your rights are in different scenarios, and tells you where you can find more information.
See our accommodation guide for international students for advice on what types of accommodation are available, what you should look out for, and where you can get help.

 

Basic Accommodation Rights

You have a number of rights if you are renting private accommodation and the landlord does not also live in the property. This applies to rented houses, apartments, flats and bedsits. Here are some of the most important rights:

  • Your accommodation must be in good condition and meet a set of minimum standards. The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) have a useful Guide on Minimum Standards for Rented Residential Accommodation.
     
  • You have a right to privacy. Your landlord is not allowed to enter your rented accommodation without your permission.
     
  • Written records should be kept. You must have a rent book, contract or lease with your landlord.
     
  • Rent can only increase every two years, and you will be given 90 days’ notice in writing. It must be at current market rates and your landlord must provide 3 examples of properties in the area with similar price increases.
     
  • Unless you did the damage, your landlord must pay for repairs.
     
  • You must give at least 30 days’ verbal notice along with a written notice before moving out. If you do not do this, or if you leave less than 6 months after your lease began, your landlord is allowed to keep your deposit.
     
  • If you have a problem with your accommodation or your landlord, you can contact the RTB for advice. In certain circumstances, they can mediate between you and your landlord through a dispute resolution process.
     

For more information, please visit the RTB’s information page.

Homestay / "Digs"

When you rent a room in a house where the landlord also lives, this is called homestay or "digs". While this option can often be cheaper, you do not have many of the rights enjoyed by others renting apartments and flats.

  • There are no minimum physical standards that the property must comply with.
     
  • There is no legal requirement for the landlord to provide you with a rent book.
     
  • The restrictions on rent increases for other private rented accommodation do not apply.
     
  • The landlord can end your tenancy at any time and with less notice (although some notice must still be given).
     
  • If you have a complaint, or if you are in dispute with your landlord, the Residential Tenancies Board cannot get involved.
     
  • You are not protected by the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015, which prohibit discrimination on grounds of gender, civil status, family status, age, race, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

As a result, it is important that you agree the rules of your tenancy with the landlord in writing, and that you both sign this agreement. You can then refer to this if there are any disagreements. Please visit the Citizens Information website for more information.

 

Rent Increases: Your Rights

If you live in digs, your landlord can increase the rent without restriction and your only option is to negotiate with your landlord.

If you do not live in digs, the first thing you should do is find out if you are living in what is called a rent pressure zone. If you do live in a rent pressure zone, there are strict limits on how much the landlord can increase the rent by. If you do not live in a rent pressure zone, there are still some rules, but there are fewer limits on how much your rent can increase. To find out if you live in a rent pressure zone, you can enter your address or Eircode here.

  • If you are renting in a rent pressure zone, your landlord can seek a rent increase of up to 4% per year over a three-year period.
  • When you start your tenancy, the landlord must give you written information about the amount of rent, the date the rent last increased, and an explanation of how your rent has been calculated in compliance with the rules that apply in a rent pressure zone.
  • You can calculate what the maximum rent for your accommodation should be using the RTB's Rent Pressure Zone Calculator.
  • In addition, all of the rights that apply for people living in private rented accommodation that is not in a rent pressure zone also apply for you. Please see below.

However:

  • If nobody has rented the accommodation for the last two years, the rules of the rent pressure zone do not apply. Your rent must still not be more than market rent. (Ask your landlord for examples of at least three comparable rents of similar properties in your area which have been advertised in the previous four weeks.)
  • If the landlord makes a 'substantial change' to the accommodation, the rules of the rent pressure zone no longer apply. A 'substantial change' means building works, and does not mean, for example, painting the property or installing new appliances. Any rent increase must still be in line with market rent.

For more information, please visit the RTB's information page on Rent Pressure Zones.

  • The landlord can change the amount of rent you pay for the accommodation every two years. If you have been living at the same accommodation continuously for less than two years, your landlord cannot increase your rent.
  • Your landlord must tell you that the rent for your accommodation will increase 90 days before you start paying the new increased rent.
  • A valid notice of a rent increase given to you by the landlord must be in the prescribed form. The RTB have produced a sample rent review notice.
  • The new increased rent amount must not be more than the market rent. The RTB's Rent Index can be used as a guide.
  • As evidence that the new rent is no more than market rent, the notice of your rent increase must include examples of at least three comparable rents of similar properties in your area which have been advertised in the previous four weeks.

However:

  • If the landlord makes a 'substantial change' to the accommodation, the landlord can increase the rent, even if you have been living at the accommodation for less than two years. A 'substantial change' means building works, and does not mean, for example, painting the property or installing new appliances. Any rent increase must still be in line with market rent.

For more information, please visit the RTB's information page on Rent Certainty Measures.

 

Where can you go for further advice?

Your student union accommodation officer

Threshold, a national charity that offers free advice to tenants

The Residential Tenancies Board, which is responsible for dealing with disputes between landlords and tenants.

See our accommodation guide for international students.

 


Supported by the Department of Education and Skills