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Real Estate Update: Tougher Tenant Protections May Be Coming – Relief for Renters?

04 July 2018

We examine some of the proposed amendments to the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 as envisaged by the Residential Tenancies (Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty) Bill 2018, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections Bill) 2018 (the “Bills”). The Bills are currently before the Second Stage of Dáil Eireann and if passed, could have serious implications for landlords of residential properties including receivers.

Residential Tenancies (Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty) Bill 2018

This Bill seeks to provide tenants with greater security of tenure and rent certainty. One of the most significant provisions is the proposed extension of the definition of “Landlord” to include receivers. The aim is to introduce certainty to the relationship between receivers and tenants. If this Bill is enacted, receivers would be obliged to comply with the terms of residential tenancy agreements to include maintenance of the premises and return of security deposits.

This Bill also proposes to amend section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 which sets out the grounds under which a landlord can terminate a residential tenancy. Currently, a landlord can terminate a tenancy where it is intended to sell the property within three months of termination of the tenancy. The Bill deletes this provision with the result that, where a tenant has acquired a Part 4 tenancy, a landlord or receiver would be required to sell the property with the tenant in situ. The Bill also seeks to extend the Part 4 tenancy to one of indefinite duration unless there are permissible grounds for termination.

Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018

The most important provision of this Bill is the proposed amendment to the minimum notice periods which landlords are obliged to give under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. This Bill seeks to triple the existing notice periods. The Bill would also, if enacted, require that the Private Residential Tenancies Board (the “Board”) to maintain and permit tenants to inspect records relating to all residential properties registered with the Board including the rent payable, the address of the property and the landlord’s PPS number.

Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections Bill) 2018

The aim of this Bill is to allow students living in student-specific accommodation under a licence to avail of the rights and remedies set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 including access to the Residential Tenancies Board and inclusion in rent pressure zones. The Bill seeks to broaden the definition of “tenancy” in the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to include licenses for student-specific accommodation.

Conclusion

The changes proposed by the Residential Tenancies (Greater Security of Tenure and Rent Certainty) Bill 2018, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018 and the Residential Tenancies (Student Rents, Rights and Protections Bill) 2018 would certainly be beneficial to those living in rented accommodation. Landlords and receivers, on the other hand, are likely to consider that the proposed amendments are pro-tenant and unduly onerous. In the current property market where vacant possession provides higher sale prices, landlords and receivers may not welcome legislation which proposes to prevent them from terminating tenancies to facilitate property sales.

For more information on the amendments proposed by the Bills or how they may affect your property, contact a member of our Real Estate team. 


The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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