Private Rented Accommodation

The statutory changes made in recent years with regard to private rented housing include the following:

  • Housing (Registration of Rented Houses) Regulations1996
  • Housing (Rent Books) Regulations1993
  • Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) 1993 Regulations   

Any obligation of a landlord described on this page may be carried out on the landlord's behalf by a duly appointed agent.

Registration of rented accommodation

Tenancies falling within the scope of the Residential Tenancies Act (Revised) 2004 will have to be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board – landlords no longer register with the Council. It is the responsibility of the landlord to register the details with the Board. Landlords failing to register a tenancy may be guilty of an offence and upon conviction shall be liable for a fine of up to €3,000 and/or up to 6 months in prison, along with a daily fine of €250 for a continuing offence. A tenancy must be registered with the Board before the landlord can avail of the Board’s dispute resolution service. This restriction does not apply to tenants wishing to avail of the service. Both the landlord and the tenants are entitled to a copy of the details entered on the register. Landlords must register details of all their tenancies with the RTB.

The Residential Tenancies Act (Revised) 2004, including the requirement to register, applies to the vast majority of private rented dwellings. However, there are certain dwellings that are excluded, including:

  • Business Premises
  • A dwelling in which Part II of the Housing (Private Rented Dwellings) Act 1982 applies, i.e. formerly rent controlled dwelling occupied by the “original tenant” or his/her spouse)
  • A dwelling let by a Local Authority or Voluntary Housing Body
  • A Holiday let
  • A dwelling in which the landlord is also resident
  • A dwelling in which the spouse, parent or child of the landlord is resident and there is no written lease or tenancy agreement

Provision of rent books

Tenants must be provided with a rent book in which are recorded all rent payments.  The rent book, or letting agreement, must contain other information about the tenancy, specified by the Rent Book Regulations:

  • Address of the rented dwelling
  • Name and address of the landlord
  • Name of the tenant
  • Term of the tenancy
  • Amount of rent, when and how it is to be paid
  • Details of other payments (e.g. telephone, TV)
  • Amount and purpose of any deposit paid and the conditions under which it will be returned to the tenant.
  • Statement of information on basic rights and duties of landlords and tenants  

Minimum Standards for rented accommodation

Landlords are required by law to ensure that their property complies with certain minimum standards (e.g. free from damp, in good structural repair, sanitation, hot and cold water, adequate means of heating and ventilation, natural light, appliances in good working order, electrical wiring, gas, pipes in good repair). If the property does not comply with these standards, the landlord may be prosecuted, following inspection of the property by the Council.

The minimum standards for private rented accommodation are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019.

For each apartment, flat or house being rented as a separate unit, the landlord must ensure:

  • The rental property is free from damp and in a proper state of structural repair (internally and externally). 
  • Electricity or gas supplies are safe and in good repair, and that every room has adequate ventilation and heating that tenants can control, and both natural and artificial lighting.
  • Access to washing machine and a clothes-dryer (if the dwelling does not have a private garden or yard)
  • Facilities for cooking and for the hygienic storage of food, to include 4-ring hob with oven and grill, Cooker hood or extractor fan, Fridge and freezer, or a fridge-freezer, Microwave oven, Suitable and adequate kitchen cupboards for storing food, Sink with mains water supply of cold potable water, piped suppy of hot water and draining area
  • A separate room, for the exclusive use of each rented unit, with a toilet, a washbasin and a fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water
  • A suitable fixed heating appliance in each room, which is capable of providing effective heating and which the tenant can control, and adequate facilities for the safe removal of fumes
  • A fire blanket and fire detection and alarm system
  • Access to vermin-proof and pest-proof rubbish storage facilities

Additional requirements from May 2019

With effect from 1 May 2019, a landlord must also ensure that:

  • Information is given to tenants on the property, building services, appliances and their maintenance requirements
  • Efforts are made to prevent infestation of pests and vermin
  • Windows that are located above a certain height are fitted with safety restrictors, in order to prevent falls. Lockable restrictors released only by removable keys or other tools should not be fitted.
  • There is a permanently fixed heater in each bathroom/shower room and these heaters are properly maintained
  • There is a separate room for sanitary facilities (such as a bath) and they must be well ventilated, in good working order and a safe condition
  • Each dwelling contains, where necessary, a carbon monoxide alarm which must be suitably located and maintained

In multi-unit buildings, the landlord must provide each unit with a suitable fire-detection and alarm system, fire blanket, and an emergency evacuation plan. There must also be emergency lighting in common areas.

The RTB has published a useful guide to the minimum standards for rented properties including the changes introduced by the 2019 Regulations.

Inspections of Private Rented Houses 

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing these minimum standards. This includes inspection of properties. If you are a tenant and you think your accommodation is not up to standard, you can contact your local authority.

Failure to comply with the minimum standards can result in penalties and prosecution. Local authorities can issue Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices to landlords who breach the minimum standards regulations.

An Improvement Notice sets out the works that the landlord must carry out to remedy a breach of the regulations.

There may also be a role for the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), for example, where a landlord is not responding to a request to repair a heating appliance or where a tenant is using the property in such a way as to lead to deterioration in the condition of the property and breach of a standard.

Local authorities and housing bodies

Local authorities and certain housing bodies have to adhere to different requirements regarding laundry, food preparation and storage facilities and must provide:

  • Facilities for the installation of cooking equipment,
  • Sink, with a piped supply of potable cold water taken directly from the service pipe supplying water from the public main or other source to the building containing the house and a facility for the piped supply of hot water, and an adequate draining area,
  • Suitable facilities for the effective and safe removal of fumes to the external air by means of a cooker hood or extractor fan, and
  • Suitable and adequate number of kitchen presses for food storage purposes.

If you are a local authority tenant or housing association tenant and you think that your rented property does not comply with the standards, you can make a complaint to your local authority.

Complaints or queries regarding the minimum standards for rented accommodation should be directed to the Housing Section by email at housing@cavancoco.ie or by phone at 049 437 8300.