Security of Tenure
During the first six months of a letting, a landlord can terminate the letting for any reason For the remaining five and a half years of a six year ( four years for tenancies created before 24/12/2016) cycle, termination by the landlord may be on the basis of certain limited specified grounds only. The tenant can terminate at any time on giving notice.
Unlike the landlord, the tenant does not have to have a good or any reason in order to terminate. If the landlord and the tenant agree a longer term, this will be binding on both landlord and tenant. Neither can terminate without being in breach of contract.
After the initial six-month on the letting, a so called “Part 4 tenancy” on the terms which are prescribed by the Act comes into force. After the initial six-year period, a further six-year period may come into force. This period may be longer if the tenancy has lased more than 4 years. See the chapter on the length of notice required.
The act does not take from a tenant more beneficial rights that he may have (for example, under a long lease).
Terms of the Rights
The 6-year statutory protection comes into existence when the tenancy has lasted 6 months from its commencement or from the Act coming into force and for its lasting six years in total (or until a notice period bringing it beyond the six years has expired), unless terminated in accordance with the Act (four years for tenancies created before 24/12/2016)
The terms of the previous tenancy of which it is a continuation, continue unless varied by agreement between the parties or inconsistent with the Act. A series of continuous separate fixed term tenancies are deemed continuous occupation for the purposes of qualifying for a Part 4 tenancy.
It is prohibited to sub-let part only of a dwelling. A sub-tenant has the equivalent but modified protections contained in the Schedule to the Act. The sub-tenancy shall (if it would not or might not do so otherwise) continue in being for so long as the Part 4 tenancy continues in being unless it is sooner terminated under the provisions of Part 4 as adapted by the Schedule.
The security rights do not apply to certain types of tenancies. These exclusions are in addition to exclusions by which the whole legislation is excluded.
The exclusion from the right of renewal apply
- a single dwelling has been divided into two units where the landlord resides in the other unit and the landlord so opts by written notice at the outset.
- certain tax break assisted student accommodation
- employment related lettings.
The rights do not apply to a dwelling designated by the approved housing body for the use by it as a transitional dwelling, and the consent of the public authority as landlord or provider of assistance has been obtained by the approved housing body before it makes the designation. A ‘ transitional dwelling ’ is a dwelling that an approved housing body leases for periods not exceeding 18 months for the purposes of the approved housing body concerned.
The death of the tenant terminates the tenancy unless a family member who resided with the tenant opts to become tenant.
Social House Exemption
The provisions of the Act in relation to security of tenure do not apply where a dwelling is designated as a transitional dwelling, and the consent of the housing authority which is, either landlord or provides assistance, has been obtained to this designation. A transitional dwelling is a dwelling that an approved housing authority leases for periods not exceeding 18 months for its purposes.
Where, before commencement of the legislation, a designation had not been made, the property could be so designated at any time within 12 months of the commencement of the legislation. The Department was to be notified of the designation.
In the case of a tenancy by a public authority, the provisions in the Residential Tenancies Act in relation to succession to tenancies on death, apply to members of the household only.
Assignment and Death
A Part 4 tenancy may be assigned with the landlord’s consent. Where it is assigned to a person who is not a sub-tenant of the dwelling concerned, the tenancy is converted into a periodic tenancy, the assignor’s Part 4 protection ceases and the assignee’s tenancy will not become a Part 4 tenancy until the assignee has been in occupation for 6 months. Where it is assigned to a sub-tenant of the dwelling, the assignor’s Part 4 protection ceases, the assignee’s sub-tenancy merges with the Part 4 tenancy and the assignee continues to have the benefit of the Part 4 tenancy for the remainder of the 6 years, subject to the same terms and conditions unless varied by agreement.
A Part 4 tenancy is terminated on the death of the tenant. The tenancy is not terminated where a family member who resided with the dead tenant opts to become tenant.
Successive Part 4 Tenancies
Anew tenancy comes into being on the expiry of the 6-year period unless a termination notice has been validly served. This tenancy is termed a ‘‘further Part 4 tenancy’’ and lasts for 6 years unless terminated by the tenant or by the landlord in the first 6 months or on one of the valid grounds listed.The period is four years for tenancies created before 24/12/2016.
Further successive Part 4 tenancies may arise. The rights to further Part 4 tenancies are of a rolling nature, and will arise if not previously terminated in accordance with the Act. This further Part 4 tenancy also lasts for 6 years unless terminated by the tenant or by the landlord on one of the valid grounds listed.
Multi-Tenant Properties I
The Part 4 rights apply to tenants and licensees of properties units in multiple occupation from the earliest date that the multiple tenant has been in possession for six months. Each multiple unit tenants benefits from the protection once his occupation has lasted a continuous six-month period. Multiple occupation means that there are two or more tenants or licensees in occupation.
A licensee is a person who occupies property but does not have a right of exclusive occupation. A licensee of a multiple occupied property may request to be allowed to be tenant and landlord may not unreasonably refuse consent.
A breach by one multiple tenant is not generally a ground for termination of other multiple tenants’ letting. This is provided that other tenant provides information and an explanation which shows that the breach was not with their consent. If the multiple tenant refuses to identify who committed the breach, the landlord may conclude that all tenants were complicit and may terminate all multiple tenants’ lettings on the basis of the breach
Multi-Tenant Properties Issues
‘‘Multiple tenants’’ are 2 or more persons who are tenants of a single dwelling. The 6-year security of tenure measure applies to a dwelling occupied by multiple tenants, together with any of their lawful licensees, from the earliest date at which a multiple tenant has been in occupation for 6 months.
Once a Part 4 tenancy has come into being, each multiple tenant in occupation before then and any person accepted by the landlord as tenant after that, benefits from the protection of that Part 4 tenancy once their occupation (whether as tenant or licensee) has lasted a continuous period of 6 months.
Any lawful licensee of a tenant or multiple tenants may, during the existence of a Part 4 tenancy, request to be allowed to become a tenant and the landlord may not unreasonably refuse such a request — acceptance is to be acknowledged in writing. The rights, restrictions and obligations of a tenant will then apply to the former licensee, except that the Part 4 protection will not apply until the former licensee has completed 6 months of continuous occupation.
The actions of one multiple tenant in breach of the obligations applying to the tenancy will be grounds for the termination of the Part 4 tenancy only if done with the consent of the other multiple tenants. A landlord may conclude that the breach was done with the consent of any tenant who does not assist the landlord in identifying the tenant responsible for the breach and any tenant who consented to it.
If the landlord concludes that not all of the tenants were complicit in the breach, he/she may terminate the benefit of the protection of the Part 4 tenancy for the relevant person/s only. A dispute in relation to this matter may be determined under the dispute resolution procedures in Part 6.
The death or vacating of the dwelling by the person whose occupation gave rise to the Part 4 tenancy does not deprive the other tenants of the benefit of that protection. The later qualification for the benefit of the protection of a Part 4 tenancy as provided does not have the effect of bringing separate Part 4 tenancies into existencein respect of the one dwelling.