Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill 2018 – The Implications for Landlords

June 2018

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (the Bill) is currently making its way through the Oireachtas and, if successfully enacted, will have significant implications for landlords of residential properties.

The Bill seeks to amend the 2004 Residential Tenancies Act (the 2004 Act) and has three primary objectives: to substantially strengthen the sanctioning powers of the Residential Tenancies Board (the RTB); to lengthen the termination notice rights of tenants and; to make rent data more readily available to tenants.

The Bill, which was introduced as a Private Members’ Bill by Róisín Shorthall TD, has recently secured cabinet approval at the instigation of the Housing Minister, Eoghan Murphy TD and seeks to substantially increase the fines levied by the RBT.  Under the proposed scheme maximum fines for contraventions of the 2004 Act by landlords will increase from €3,000 to €15,000.  Furthermore, the Minister has indicated a willingness to consider extending criminal liability to landlords who disregard the maximum 4% rent increase provisions within Rent Pressure Zones introduced under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016. See also our article on Changes to Residential Rent Reviews.

Tenants’ minimum termination notice rights will also be increased to 90 days for all tenancies under one year and 120 days for all tenancies between one and five years duration. This will place Ireland in line with such other EU countries as France, Sweden the Netherlands and Germany.

The final amendment seeks to provide tenants with the right to access information on the amount of rent paid by the previous tenant of the property, before their own tenancy commences. This tenant accessible database of prior rents will allow new tenants to investigate whether the Rent Pressure Zone provisions are being adhered to by their prospective landlord.

These proposed amendments will have significant implications for all residential landlords and it is important that landlords keep abreast of these changes as they are introduced.

If you are a landlord or tenant of residential property and wish to obtain advice on these issues, or on a specific residential tenancy dispute, please contact Rory McDonald or any member of our Real Estate team.