The Government has recently announced a series of reforms for the private rental sector in Ireland to provide greater rent certainty for both tenants and landlords.
The proposed new Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill is expected to be enacted shortly and the most important changes are:
- The Act will provide for an increased rent review period from the present period of one year to two years and will increase the notice periods for such rent reviews.
- Anybody who faced a rent increase in 2015 will not now have a rent review until 2017.
- There will be a deposit protection scheme where deposits will now be lodged with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) as opposed to the Landlord and the consent of both parties will be required to draw it down on completion of a tenancy.
- Landlords will be obliged to provide more evidence that any rent increase sought is in line with the local market rate and will have to inform tenants of their rights and how to dispute future rent increases with the PRTB.
- A Landlord who wishes to sell his/her property or terminate a tenancy in order for a family member to use it will have to supply a “Statutory Declaration” to the tenant which is a sworn declaration stating the reasons for the termination.
- A new procedure to deal with rent arrears cases with the PRTB will now be dealt with at the District Court level as opposed to Circuit Court making it easier and less expensive for Landlords to deal with unscrupulous tenants.
- Any minor errors in Notices of Termination will no longer cause entire proceedings against problem tenants to fail as is currently the case.
- In addition, it is proposed by the present Government that the next Finance Act will introduce a tax relief measure whereby Landlords who lease to tenants who are in receipt of rent allowance/supplement can avail of 100% mortgage interest relief on their borrowings where they commit to accommodating such tenants for a minimum period of three years.
It is anticipated that these changes will have a significant impact on the private rental sector given that more than one in five families are now in rental accommodation and long term renting is expected to become a significant and permanent feature of the Irish residential property market.
If you are a landlord or tenant and are seeking legal advice in relation to the existing law or proposed changes please consult O’Hara Solicitors, Cross Street, Athenry, Co. Galway, telephone 091-844045, oharasolicitors.com