Being a landlord in Ireland can be a great investment and a hugely rewarding experience, but there’s a lot to learn along the way. From property regulations and paperwork to your rights and responsibilities, there are plenty of things you need to know to make your life as a landlord as smooth and stress-free as possible. To help guide you in the right direction, we’ve put together 12 things that you absolutely must do as a landlord in Ireland.
Register With The RTB
The RTB, or Residential Tenancies Board, is a public body created to support and develop the rental housing sector. Part of their job is to maintain a national register of tenancies in Ireland, and as a landlord it’s your duty to register. You can do this easily via the RTB website, where you’ll find step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the process, or you can register by post if you prefer.
The registration form asks for basic details like the type of property, floor area and number of occupants. To complete the registration you must pay the RTB a standard fee that’s due within 30 days of the tenancy commencement date. You’ll need to register your tenancies with the RTB every year, and you’ll receive a reminder when your next registration is due.
Provide Your Tenant With A Rent Book (Or A Statement Of Rent Paid)
Under the Housing (Rent Books) Regulations, 1993., your tenant is entitled to a rent book. A rent book is a readily available and inexpensive document where you record details about the tenancy, such as the date it started and the address of the property, and note all the rent payments that tenant makes. The tenant keeps hold of the rent book, and you must either request it from them to record their payments or give them a signed receipt with the payment details.
Make Sure The Property Meets The Minimum Standards
The Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017. sets out the minimum standards required for your rental property. These mostly relate to physical standards, like ensuring that it is free from damp and in a proper state of structural repair both indoors and out. You must make sure that the property has both natural and artificial light, that electricity and gas supplies are safe and every room is adequately ventilated in a way that the tenant can control. As a landlord, there are also certain items you must provide, like a carbon monoxide alarm, smoke alarm and fire blanket.
Private landlords are subject to additional requirements, such as the provision of a washing machine and a clothes dryer if there is no access to a private garden or outdoor space. The rules vary slightly depending on the circumstances, so make sure you read the regulations thoroughly to ensure your property has everything it needs.
Repair And Maintain The Property
It’s your responsibility to maintain the inside of your rental property to the standard it was when the tenancy began – this is why a thorough check-in report is vital. Your tenant is legally obliged to report any damages, which ideally should be done in writing (a text or email is fine) so that you both have time-stamped evidence. You can’t be held responsible for any disrepair that they didn’t report. Similarly, you are not responsible for any damage that has been caused by the tenant or that has occurred as a result of their actions.
Reimburse Tenants For Certain Repairs
If a tenant fixes something which falls under your responsibility, you are obliged to reimburse them for their costs. This rule doesn’t cover things like home improvements but is more to do with the minimum required standards, for example if the boiler broke down or the oven stopped working. To avoid having to go through this process, it’s always good to tackle any repairs as soon as they are reported. If a tenant reports the issue but doesn’t hear back, or you don’t complete the repairs in a timely manner, they are well within their rights to get the issue fixed themselves.
Provide a BER
A Building Energy Rating, or BER, is a certificate that shows the energy performance of your property from a scale of A to G (A being the most energy efficient, G being the least). You can find out if your property already has a BER by searching this website. If not, you can also use the website to find a BER assessor to get your certificate. Once you have it, the certificate is valid for 10 years, providing no major changes are made to the property that might impact its energy efficiency.
Insure The Property
As with any kind of investment, there are risks associated with letting property, and insurance will help protect you from financial loss. You can get landlord or buy-to-let insurance designed specifically for this purpose, which should cover you for a wide range of situations including door lock replacement, fire damage, and even legal fees if a tenant is injured in your property.
However, it’s up to your tenant to get contents insurance to protect their personal belongings.
Provide Your Tenant With Your Contact Details
It’s vital that your tenant can get in touch with you or the agent working on your behalf at all times. Even if you are working with a letting agent, you should provide your tenant with your full contact details as it can help to avoid problems with your property. For example, if the roof began to leak on a Saturday night, the tenant might not be able to get hold of your letting agent until Monday morning. Having your details may help to prevent any damage that could potentially be avoided.
Give Your Tenant Notice Of An Inspection
It’s highly recommended that you carry out periodic inspections of the property to avoid any potential disputes later on. But before you do an inspection, you must let your tenant know the date and time in advance and get permission from them to enter the property. If, for whatever reason, your tenant continuously refuses to let you do an inspection, they are in breach of their responsibilities and you have grounds to take further action.
Give 90 Days Notice For a Rent Review
As a landlord in Ireland, you are allowed to review the rent once every 12 months in an RPZ (rent pressure zone) or every 24 months outside of an RPZ. If you are unsure if your property is in an RPZ or you want to find out how much rent you can charge, you can use this calculator.
If you decide you do want to review the rent, you must give your tenants at least 90 days written notice stating the new amount they will need to pay and the date it will take effect. You must also notify the RTB so that they can update your tenancy registration.
Provide Valid Written Notice Of Termination
When the time comes to end a tenancy, there is a set of rules that you have to follow. A valid notice of termination must:
- Be in writing
- Be signed by yourself or your authorised agent
- State the grounds for ending the tenancy
- Give the date the tenant must leave (the notice period varies depending on how long they have lived there)
- State the tenant has 28 days from the date they receive the notice of termination to refer it to the RTB with any questions
If the tenancy has lasted less than 6 months, you don’t need to give grounds as to why the tenancy is ending. If your tenant has lived there longer, however, you must give one of the following reasons:
- The tenant has breached their responsibilities
- The property is not suited to the tenant’s needs
- You require the property for personal or family use
- You want to sell the property
- You want to carry out significant refurbishment of the property
- The use of the property is changing
Return The Deposit Promptly
Once your tenant has left the property you must return the deposit to them promptly, ideally as soon as you have carried out a final inspection (or, if applicable, after repairs and cleaning has been carried out). While there are certain circumstances where you can make deductions from the deposit, for example in the case of rent arrears or damages, by law the deposit belongs to your tenant. So although there is no specific time frame to stick to, a good rule of thumb is to have it returned within 14 days of the end of the tenancy.