Types of tenancy in Ireland

Information

You are a tenant if you are renting your home from a landlord. When you rent from a landlord, you have a contract or an agreement with that person. This 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 and
  • 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.

If the yearly rent on the lease for residential accommodation is over €30,000, 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.

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 4-year period, following an initial 6-month probationary period. This type of tenancy is known as a Part 4 tenancy.

Part 4 tenancies

Under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, if you have been renting for at least 6 months and haven't been given a written notice of termination, you automatically acquire security of tenure in 4-year cycles. Any tenancy, therefore, that has lasted more than 6 months is a 'Part 4 tenancy' or a 'further Part 4 tenancy'. After 4 years of your tenancy has passed, a new tenancy starts. The same 4-year cycle can begin again, leading to a further Part 4 tenancy.

When you have acquired a Part 4 tenancy your landlord can terminate your tenancy only in certain circumstances. Read more about if your landlord wants you to leave here. If you want to leave during your Part 4 tenancy and you do not have a fixed-term agreement, you do not have to give a reason but you must give the correct period of notice in writing as required under the Act. (See 'Rules' below).

Claiming a Part 4 tenancy at the end of a lease
If you have a fixed-term contract or lease (for example of 1 year) and you wish to remain in the property under the rights acquired under Part 4, you must notify your landlord of your intention to stay in the property between 3 months and 1 month before the expiry of your fixed–term tenancy or lease agreement. You can use this sample letter of notification to remain in the property under Part 4.

If you do not notify your landlord you cannot be refused coverage under Part 4 but you may have to compensate the landlord for any financial loss she/he has incurred because you did not notify him/her of your intention to remain in the tenancy.

Claiming a Part 4 tenancy during a periodic tenancy
If you are in a periodic tenancy (renting without a lease or a contract) you also have automatic security of tenure under Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 but you don’t have to notify your landlord of your intention to remain in the property for up to 4 years.

Renting a room in your landlord's home

If you rent a room in your landlord's home and live with your landlord, you are not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004.

Rules

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 Notice by landlord
Less than 6 months 4 weeks (28 days)
6 months to 1 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 Notice by tenant
Less than 6 months 4 weeks (28 days)
6 months to 1 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.

Market rent

Landlords cannot charge rent that is above the market rate. Landlords can seek a rent review after the first 12 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 getting a social welfare payment, you may be entitled to a rent supplement to help you with the rent.

Minimum standards

The local authority is responsible for enforcing standards. Read more about minimum standards in rented accommodation here.

Where to apply


Threshold

21 Stoneybatter
Dublin 7
Ireland

Tel:(01) 635 3651
Fax:(01) 677 2407
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advice@threshold.ie

Threshold

22 South Mall
Cork
Ireland

Tel:(021) 427 8848
Fax:(021) 480 5111
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advicecork@threshold.ie

Threshold

3 Victoria Place
Merchant's Road
Galway
Ireland

Tel:(091) 563 080
Fax:(091) 569 273
Homepage: http://www.threshold.ie
Email: advicegalway@threshold.ie

Private Residential Tenancies Board

PO Box 47
Clonakilty
Co. Cork
Ireland

Tel:+353 (0) 818 30 30 37
Fax:+353 (0) 818 30 30 39
Homepage: http://www.prtb.ie/

Page updated: 21 April 2011

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