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Your housing rights

Evelyn breaks down your rights as a tenant


Written by Evelyn Coffin and posted in opinion


This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact editor@spunout.ie.


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Do you know your housing rights? If you’re renting a property, you as a tenant are entitled to certain rights that will ensure, by law, that you’re being well-treated, and it’s pretty important to know these. Below is a list of those rights, a list of duties for you as a tenant, and some advice on where to go if you have a problem during your tenancy.

Rights as a Tenant

You, as a tenant, are entitled to:

Quiet and exclusive enjoyment of your home

Are your neighbours loud and annoying? You have a right to tell them to stop, and you should also tell your landlord. You also have the right to make a formal complaint if the problem doesn’t go away. There’s more information on that here: http://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/environment/environmental_protection/noise_regulations.html

Minimum standards of accommodation

This means the place you’re renting must have the following:

  • a sink and shower with hot and cold water
  • A heating unit in each room, that you can control
  • Facilities for heating and storing food (like a hob, a microwave, a refrigerator, etc)
  • Access to a washing machine, and clothes dryer if there is no private yard
  • A fire blanket and smoke alarms
  • Vermin and pest-proof trash storage

If you want more information or think your rental does not meet these minimum standards, there’s more information here

A rent book

A rent book is a record of all the payments you’ve made on the rental, as recorded and signed by the landlord.

To contact your landlord

You are perfectly entitled to have the contact information of your landlord, and to be able to contact them for any reason, during a reasonable time.

Privacy

You’re allowed privacy even from your landlord; if they need to make an inspection or any repairs, they can still only come on the property or enter with your permission, at a time you agree on.

Reimbursement for things it’s the landlord’s job to pay for

The landlord should be paying for all of the basic facilities.

Guests

You are required to tell the landlord if someone else moves in with you; however you are allowed to have visitors, unless explicitly stated in your tenancy agreement.

Notice for termination of tenancy

Your landlord must give you, at the very minimum, four weeks’ notice if they want to end your tenancy. This time limit depends on the length of the tenancy, and will vary, but cannot be less than 28 days.

Referring any disputes without penalty

The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) is in charge of disputes, and if you have a problem you’re allowed to bring it to the board without getting in trouble with your landlord.

Access to a copy of your registered tenancy

The register keeps track of names, addresses, descriptions of the properties, and the rent, and your tenancy must be registered by your landlord.

In addition, your apartment must have a Building Energy Rating (BER)

The BER states how energy-efficient the home is, which can help you compare properties that you may want to rent.

Security of tenure

After a trial period of six months, you are permitted security of tenure for another three years and six months

Reclaim a deposit

You will probably have to pay a security deposit when you first move in. When you leave, you are entitled to get that deposit back, unless in the case of:

  • Rent arrears (late or unpaid rents)
  • Other unpaid bills
  • Damage
  • Not giving adequate notice when you want to leave

Obligations of a Tenant

You, as a tenant, are expected to:

  • Pay your rent on time
  • Pay for other things on time, when necessary. This may include trash collection charges or utility fees, but will always be specified in the tenancy agreement
  • Keep the property neat
  • Tell the landlord if something needs repaired, and allow the landlord on the property to carry out the repairs
  • Allow the landlord on the property (again, at a time you agree upon, and not before) for inspections
  • Avoid causing damage or nuisance (don’t be that noisy neighbor!)
  • Comply with the terms of the tenancy agreement
  • Give the landlord any required information for the registry
  • Proper notice for termination of tenancy. Again, this is normally a minimum of 28 days, depending on how long you’ve lived there. For more information about ending your tenancy, see here: http://www.threshold.ie/advice/ending-a-tenancy/ending-your-tenancy/

Where to go for help

If you think your rental property is not up to the standards, have a problem with your landlord or neighbors, or need a third party to resolve a dispute, there are places you can go for help:

If you think your rental does not meet minimum standards

The Environmental Health service of your local authority. County and city council listings can be found here. 

If your landlord doesn’t give you a rent book or proper receipts

The housing department of your local authority. County and city council listings can be found here. 

Another dispute, or if an above dispute is unresolved

Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB)

And, to actually submit a dispute online, go here

For more information and advice, on everything from your rental search to when to go to the PRTB, there’s a lot more information at Threshold: http://www.threshold.ie/advice/

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Published March 16th, 2016
Tags housing accommodation rent
Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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