When we moved to Dublin a while back, we were thrown head first into the Irish rental market jungle. In addition to simply securing a place to live, we had to learn Irish tenancy law inside and out.
Layers of laws passed over the years make it hard to truly wrap your head around your rights as a tenant. These laws matters. The right information information can help you get problems fixed faster. Knowing the legal minimum standards also gives you a way to gauge the severity of an issue in your flat or house.
By all means, one of the best sources for a truly deep dive in housing rights are the Citizen Information Board. They often update their sites and guides as new laws pass.
In this blog, I’ll focus on a few rental rights you especially need to know (or at least I wish I knew). This is not a legal document and should not be taken as legal advice.
1. Newest regulations
The newest regulation of rental properties went into effect just this past summer. They require landlords provide carbon monoxide detector/alarms as well as fixed heaters in each bathroom.
The other change in the new Irish law affects window heights. If the bottom of the window is more than 1.4 meters above the ground outside, the landlord needs to provide safety restrictors to prevent falls out of the window.
2. What should be in your flat
Photo by Kambani Ramano / Unsplash
I moved to Ireland from the United States, where rental regulations vary from state to state or even city to city. Here, national standards stipulate what should be provided in each unit. In Ireland, just about every apartment must have a clothes washer and a dryer (unless there’s a sufficient private garden to dry clothes outside). That’s the law.
Landlords also can’t skimp in the kitchen, with requirements to have a microwave oven in addition to the stove, sink, and refrigerator. The landlord is also expected to keep those appliances in working order, so if the microwave breaks, notify your landlord.
3. Limitations you need to know
Of course, your landlord is responsible for all of the structural aspects of the apartment, including the pipes and electrical wires. They need to keep those in tip-top shape.
However, if something goes wrong, the landlord may not be responsible for damage to your stuff. For example, if the pipes leak and damage your books or TV, your items are your responsibility. That’s why it is so imperative to consider renter’s insurance.
This is always the tough subject. Landlords are expected to keep their properties in a safe and healthy condition. That means hot and cold water, working appliances, a sound structure, and working electrical/gas connections. The flat or home must not be damp either.
If something goes wrong, it’s up to you as the tenant to notify the landlord. Then, if the repairs go unfixed (in a “reasonable timeframe”), the landlord will owe you for any repairs you carry out. In those cases, make sure you have receipts to prove the price of all of the work.
5. Privacy and peace
You have the right to a quiet apartment. Did you know that? Of course, there is not really anything you can do about those upstairs neighbours who might step just a little too loudly on Saturday morning.
However, if noise from neighbours or other tenants bother you, you can ask them to stop. Be sure to also let your landlord know. If the noise continues, you can formally complain under the Environmental Protection Act of 1992.
At the same time, your home is your private space. Landlords or their employees do not have the right to enter your rented apartment or house without notification, even for repairs. There are exceptions in the case of an emergency.
6. Right to stay
One final regulation that you need to understand is the concept of Part 4 tenancies. Essentially, if you live in a flat for six months and pay your rent (and follow all of the other stipulations in the lease) you can’t be forced to leave the rental property for six years.
There are (as often is in regulations) plenty of caveats. For one thing, if the lease began before December of 2016, the Part 4 protections last for four years instead of the six years. There are also exceptions for flats located inside of the landlords home.
The landlord can end even this tenancy in some specific cases: the property is overcrowded, the landlord plans to sell the unit within three months, the landlord needs it for a family member, the landlord plans major renovations, or if the landlord has plans to convert the residential flat into another use, like an office.
Read up on the Part 4 regulations. They may be different from what you’ve experienced before.
7. Share your experience
Your most important right is the right to talk about your experience. We believe better informed renters and landlords make for happier people. The first step is to open up about rents and experiences.
At DwellDown, we know how hard it is to find a good apartment that meets your needs. That’s why we’ve created the best system for people to rate their homes and neighbourhoods. Good or bad, you can share your experience and listen to the experiences of other tenants through our innovative system!
Let us know what you think of your rental property here and check out properties in your neighbourhood here!