Last week (Dec 4th) – some new legislation came into force in Ireland which will affect people in rented property and their landlords.
The main changes are summarised below:
(From The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2012)
a) The duration allowed between rent reviews has been extended from 12 months to 24 months. This change will be put in place for 4 years, after which the duration between reviews will go back to 12 months.
If a tenancy began on or after Dec 4th 2014 – then there can be no rent review until 24 months after the tenancy start date.
If a tenancy began before Dec 4th 2014 – and no rent review has previously been carried out – then there can be no rent review until 24 months after the tenancy start date.
Where a tenancy began before 4th Dec 2014 and a rent review has previouly been carried out – then no further rent review can take place until 24 months after the last rent review.
Note – A landlord who has legitimately commenced a rent review prior to the enactment of the new legislation (Dec 4th) is entitled to complete that statutory review process .)
b). The period of notice of a new rent has been extended from 28 days to 90 days. If a landlord intends increasing the rent, they must inform the Tenant, in writing, of any increase in rent 90 days before the increase is due to take effect.
c) The Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill also provides for the creation of a deposit protection scheme Under this scheme, landlords will lodge tenancy deposits with the PRTB at the same time as they are registering a tenancy. The PRTB will hold these deposits for the duration of the tenancy.
If the landlord agrees, the deposit will be repaid directly to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. Where there is no agreement between the landlord and tenant on how the deposit is to be repaid, the parties may apply to the PRTB for dispute resolution.
The exact details of how and when this deposit protection scheme will operate have yet to be announced.
d)Form of Notification of New Rent to Tenant
In future, a landlord, when notifying a tenant of new rent, will have to provide the notification in a particular format, which will include providing information to the tenant in relation to the dispute resolution procedures that a tenant can pursue through the PRTB, where necessary, and specifying supporting information that will need to accompany the notice, including information in relation to the rents of 3 other similar dwellings in the area.
e) Notification of Rent Increases to the PRTB
In addition to notifying the PRTB of an increase in rent within 1 month, as is currently required, landlords will be required to also provide additional supporting documentation, including a signed statement by the tenant that they have been made aware of their rights and supporting documentation in relation to market rent for 3 similar dwellings in the area.
f) Longer notice period for tenancy terminations
Long term tenancies now have a longer period of notice of termination – full list below:
Tenancy Less than 6 months : 28 days
6 months or more, but less than 1 year : 35 days
1 year or more but less than 2 years : 42 days
2 years or more but less than 3 years : 56 days
3 years or more but less than 4 years : 84 days
5 years or more but less than 6 years : 140 days
6 years or more but less than 7 years : 168 days
7 years or more but less than 8 years : 196 days
8 or more years : 224 days
g) Enforcement of PRTB Determination Orders
PRTB Determination Orders can now be enforced in the District Court rather than the Circuit Court, reducing costs and case processing times.
h) Validity of Notices of Termination
Where there is a dispute between a landlord and a tenant, a minor error in the Notice of Termination does not have the effect of invalidating the notice and causing a dispute resolution case to fall.