- Created: Monday, July 15 2019 12:13
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act, 2019 (“the 2019 Act”) was signed into law by President Michael D. Higgins on 24th May 2019.
It introduces a range of pro-tenant changes for the residential rental sector in a bid to deliver greater transparency, and to enhance security for tenants. Landlords in particular should note the key changes introduced by the Act, which include the following:
Termination of Tenancy by a Landlord
- Sale of Property:When a landlord terminates a tenancy for the purpose of selling the property, s/he is now required to execute a contract for the sale of the property within nine months (previously 3 months) of the date of termination of the tenancy. If the property is not sold within twelve months of the date of termination, the landlord must offer to re-let the property to the previous tenant.
- Refurbishment of Property:When a landlord terminates a tenancy for the purpose of carrying out substantial refurbishment of the property, s/he must now provide a certificate from an appropriately qualified professional confirming that the works:
- pose a threat to the health & safety of the tenants;
- require vacation of the property; and
- will take at least three weeks to complete.
Once the refurbishment is complete, the landlord must offer to re-let the property to the previous tenant.
- Occupying the Property:When a landlord terminates a letting so that s/he (or a family member) can move into the property, but the property becomes available for rent again within 12 months (previously 6 months) of the termination of the tenancy, then the landlord must offer to re-let the property to the previous tenant.
Extension of Notice Periods
- The 2019 Act extends some of the notice periods which a landlord must give when terminating a tenancy, as follows:
6 – 12 months: 90 days (previously 35 days)
1 – 2 years: 120 days (previously 42 days)
2 – 3 years: 120 days (previously 56 days)
3 – 4 years: 180 days (previously 84 days)
4 – 5 years: 180 days (previously 112 days)
5 – 6 years: 180 days (previously 140 days)
6 – 7 years: 180 days (previously 168 days)
Increased Powers for the Residential Tenancies Board
- The 2019 Act empowers the Residential Tenancies Board (“RTB”) to investigate allegations of “improper conduct” by landlords.
- “Improper conduct” includes the following:
- breaching rent restrictions within Rent Pressure Zones;
- failing to register a tenancy;
- failing to notify the RTB of any change to rent under an existing tenancy;
- knowingly providing false/misleading reasons for terminating a tenancy; or
- failing to offer to re-let a property to a former tenant, where required to do so.
- Any landlord found to be guilty of “improper conduct” may be fined up to €15,000 (payable to the RTB), and/or be held liable for the costs of the RTB in carrying out its investigation.
- It will be a criminal offence for a person to withhold, destroy or refuse to provide any information or records for the purposes of any investigation, or to fail to comply with any requirement of an authorised officer, or to otherwise obstruct an authorised officer in the performance of his/her functions.
Under the 2019 Act, landlords will be required to register their tenancies on an annual basis, on the date that the tenancy was entered into.
*Just to note, this aspect of the 2019 Act has not yet come into effect.
The increased protections for tenants provided by the 2019 Act appear to signal a shift towards a market where long-term rentals are more common than has traditionally been the case in this country.
If you have any questions or concerns as to how the 2019 Act may impact upon you, then please feel free to contact our office to arrange a consultation.