Overview of Landlord’s Obligations
The Residential Tenancies Act specifies the obligations that apply to landlords and tenants of residential tenancies regardless of whether or not there is a written tenancy agreement. The cannot be varied by the landlord and tenant, other than to improve the tenant’s rights.
The broad obligations of the landlord are
- repair and maintain the structure to the minimum housing regulations standards;
- repair and maintain the interior to the standard that applied at the commencement of the letting;
- ensure and allow peaceful occupation (no interference by any other claimants);
- insured the property against damage and destruction;
- maintain public liability insurance cover for at least €250,000 claims arising by the tenants or other third parties;
- furnish contact details (may be an agent);
- promptly return any deposit when due;
- reimburse the tenant the expense of repairs undertaken which are the landlord’s responsibility where the landlord has failed or refused to do them and the postponement would be unreasonable having regard to the risks posed or the impact on the tenant or other occupiers;
- forward complaints and responses to and from the management company of a multi-unit development. A tenant in a multiple unit development is entitled to request a management company to supply service charge details and how they are calculated.
The deposit or the necessary portion of it can be retained only provided there are rent arrears or actual expenses incurred in restoring the dwelling to the standard that it should have been maintained to.
The landlord must allow the tenant of the dwelling to enjoy the peaceful and exclusive occupation of the dwelling,
It is the landlord’s obligations to enforce obligations against other tenants. Therefore, another tenant can complain to the Board if the landlord fails to enforce obligations in other leases.
Tenants cannot be penalised for referring disputes to the Board, giving evidence to court against a landlord or complaining to the Gardai.
Repair and Maintenance
The landlord is required to maintain the structure of the building and to maintain the interior to the standard that applied at the commencement of the letting. There is a corresponding responsibility on the tenant to remedy any disrepair (other than normal wear and tear) attributable to the tenant’s acts or omissions.
The Private Residential Tenancies Board may make regulations, where considered appropriate, specifying what parts of a dwelling constitute the structure or interior.
The landlord must carry out to the structure of the dwelling all such repairs as are, from time to time, necessary and ensure that the structure complies with any standards for houses for the time being prescribed. It must carry out to the interior of the dwelling all such repairs and replacement of fittings as are, from time to time, necessary so that that interior and those fittings are maintained in, at least, the condition in which they were at the commencement of the tenancy and in compliance with any such standards for the time being prescribed.
The landlord must provide receptacles suitable for the storage of refuse outside the dwelling, save where the provision of such receptacles is not within the power or control of the landlord in respect of the dwelling concerned
The landlord must reimburse the tenant in respect of all reasonable and vouched for expenses that may be incurred by the tenant in carrying out repairs to the structure or interior of the dwelling for which the landlord is responsible. This is provided the following conditions are satisfied
- the landlord has refused or failed to carry out the repairs at the time the tenant requests him or her to do so, and
- the postponement of the repairs to some subsequent date would have been unreasonable having regard to either a significant risk the matters calling for repair posed to the health or safety of the tenant or other lawful occupants of the dwelling, or a significant reduction that those matters caused in the quality of the tenant’s or other such occupants’ living environment;
The landlord must effect and maintain a policy of insurance in respect of the structure of the dwelling, that is to say, a policy
- that insures the landlord against damage to, and loss and destruction of, the dwelling, and
- that indemnifies, to an amount of at least €250,000, the landlord against any liability on his or her part arising out of the ownership, possession and use of the dwelling.
The insurance obligation does not apply at any particular time during the term of the tenancy concerned if, at that time, a policy of insurance of the kind referred to in that provision is not obtainable, or is not obtainable at a reasonable cost, by the landlord in respect of the dwelling.
The landlord must return or repay promptly any deposit paid by the tenant to the landlord on entering into the agreement for the tenancy or lease subject to the provisions regarding forfeiture.
No amount of the deposit concerned shall be required to be returned or repaid if, at the date of the request for return or repayment, there is a default in the payment of rent or other charges or taxes payable by the tenant under the lease and the amount of rent or other sum that is in arrears is equal to or greater than the amount of the deposit, or compliance and the amount of the costs that would be incurred by the landlord, were he or she to take them, in taking such steps as are reasonable for the purposes of restoring the dwelling to the condition above is equal to or greater than the amount of the deposit,
Where, at the date of the request for return or repayment, there is a default in the payment of rent or compliance with the state of condition obligations, then there shall only be required to be returned or repaid, the difference between the amount of rent (or other sum) that is in arrears or, as appropriate, the amount of the costs that would be incurred in taking steps of the required kind.
See the later provision in respect of the holding of the deposit set out in another article.
Giving Effect to Tenant’s Rights
Landlords have a duty to enforce the obligations of another tenant. A tenant directly affected by a failure to do so may refer a complaint to the Board.
The landlord must notify the tenant of the name of the person if any, (the “authorised agent”) who is authorised by the landlord to act on his or her behalf in relation to the tenancy for the time being. It must provide to the tenant particulars of the means by which the tenant may, at all reasonable times, contact him or her or his or her authorised agent.
If the dwelling is one of a number of dwellings comprising an apartment complex, the landlord must
- forward to the management company, if any, of the complex any complaint notified in writing by the tenant to him or her concerning the performance by the company of its functions in relation to the complex,
- forward to the tenant any initial response from the management company to that complaint, and
- forward to the tenant, any statement in writing of the kind referred to made by the management company in relation to that complaint.
There is an obligation on the landlord to enforce other tenants’ obligations. Failure to do so will enable another party, who can show that he/she is adversely affected by a tenant’s noncompliance with the tenancy obligations, to refer a complaint to the Board concerning the landlord’s failure to enforce. Landlords are prohibited from penalising tenants who have referred a dispute to the Board.
A landlord of a dwelling shall not penalise a tenant for—
- referring any dispute between the tenant and the landlord to the Board for resolution
- giving evidence in any proceedings to which the landlord is a party (whether the tenant is a party to them or not),
- making a complaint to a member of the Garda Síochána or to a public authority in relation to any matter arising out of, or in connection with, the occupation of the dwelling or making an application regarding such a matter to a public authority, or
- giving notice of his or her intention to do any or all of the things referred to in the preceding paragraphs.
A tenant is penalised if the tenant is subjected to any action that adversely affects his or her enjoying the peaceful occupation of the dwelling concerned. Such action may constitute penalisation even though it consists of steps taken by the landlord in the exercise of any rights conferred on him or her by or under this Act, any other enactment or the lease or tenancy agreement concerned if, having regard to—
- the frequency or extent to which the right is exercised in relation to the tenant,
- the proximity in time of its being so exercised to the tenant’s doing the relevant thing and
- any other relevant circumstances,
it is a reasonable inference that the action was intended to penalise the tenant for doing that thing.
This is without prejudice to any other liability (civil or criminal) the landlord may be subject to for doing a thing prohibited above.
Overview of Tenants Obligations
The tenant’s responsibilities include the following
- to pay rent and other charges;
- not to do or omit to anything which causes the landlord to breach his repair obligations;
- to notify the landlord of defects necessitating exercise of the landlord’s repair obligations;
- to allow reasonable access for landlord’s works;
- not to permit deterioration beyond normal wear and tear;
- to make good any such damage;
- not to engage in antisocial behaviour;
- not to invalidate landlord’s insurance;
- to pay any increased insurance due to the tenant;
- not to assign, sublet without the landlord’s written consent (which may be withheld at the landlord’s discretion);
- not to alter or change the dwelling without the landlord’s written consent;
- to use only as a dwelling;
- to inform the landlord of the identity of residents.
Tenancy agreements may not vary, modify or restrict the above mandatory basic landlord and tenant obligations. They may impose additional consistent obligations on the landlord or on the tenant.
Rent and Payments
The tenant must pay to the landlord or his or her authorised agent (or any other person where required to do so by any enactment)—
- the rent provided for under the tenancy concerned on the date it falls due for payment, and
- where the lease or tenancy agreement provides that any charges or taxes are payable by the tenant, pay those charges or taxes in accordance with the lease or tenancy agreement (unless provision to that effect in the lease or tenancy agreement is unlawful or contravenes any other enactment);
not do any act that would cause a deterioration in the condition the dwelling was in at the commencement of the tenancy, but there shall be disregarded, in determining whether this obligation has been complied with at a particular time, any deterioration in that condition owing to normal wear and tear, that is to say wear and tear that is normal having regard to—(i) the time that has elapsed from the commencement of the tenancy, (ii) the extent of occupation of the dwelling the landlord must have reasonably foreseen would occur since that commencement, and (iii) any other relevant matters;
if the last mentioned obligation is not complied with, take such steps as the landlord may reasonably require to be taken for the purpose of restoring the dwelling to the condition above or to defray any costs incurred by the landlord in his or her taking such steps as are reasonable for that purpose;
ensure that no act or omission by the tenant results in there not being complied with the obligations of the landlord, under any enactment, in relation to the dwelling or the tenancy (and in particular, the landlord’s obligations under Minimum Standards Regulations);
The tenant must not behave within the dwelling, or in the vicinity of it, in a way that is anti-social or allows other occupiers of, or visitors to, the dwelling to behave within it, or in the vicinity of it, in such a way;
Anti-social behaviour is behaviour within the dwelling that constitutes the commission of an offence, causes fear, danger, injury, damage or loss, or includes violence, intimidation, coercion, harassment, obstruction or threats. It also includes persistent behaviour that prevents or interferes with the peaceful occupation of their dwellings by others in the building or its vicinity.
The tenant must allow, at reasonable intervals, the landlord, or any person or persons acting on the landlord’s behalf, access to the dwelling (on a date and time agreed in advance with the tenant) for the purposes of inspecting the dwelling;
The tenant must notify the landlord or his or her authorised agent of any defect that arises in the dwelling that requires to be repaired so as to enable the landlord to comply with his or her obligations, in relation to the dwelling or the tenancy, under any enactment,
The tenant must allow the landlord, or any person or persons acting on the landlord’s behalf, reasonable access to the dwelling for the purposes of allowing any works (the responsibility for the carrying out of which is that of the landlord) to be carried out;
Protect Insurance Position
The tenant must not act or allow other occupiers of, or visitors to, the dwelling to act in a way which would result in the invalidation of a policy of insurance in force in relation to the dwelling;
if any act of the tenant’s, or any act of another occupier of, or visitor to, the dwelling which the tenant has allowed to be done, results in an increase in the premium payable under a policy of insurance in force in relation to the dwelling, pay to the landlord an amount equal to the amount of that increase (“the increased element”) (and that obligation to pay such an amount shall apply in respect of each further premium falling due for payment under the policy that includes the increased element);
Restricted Acts Require Consent
The tenant must not alter or improve the dwelling without the written consent of the landlord which consent the landlord in case the alteration or improvement consists only of repairing, painting and decorating, or any of those things, may not unreasonably withhold, ) in any other case, may, in his or her discretion, withhold
The tenant must not assign or sub-let the tenancy without the written consent of the landlord (which consent the landlord may, in his or her discretion, withhold);
The tenant must not use the dwelling or cause it to be used for any purpose other than as a dwelling without the written consent of the landlord (which consent the landlord may, in his or her discretion, withhold), and
The tenant must notify in writing the landlord of the identity of each person (other than a multiple tenant) who, for the time being, resides ordinarily in the dwelling.