Got a query?
QI am paying top dollar to rent a house in the city centre, but it turns out that the landlady is storing stuff in the attic of this house. She did not tell me this before I moved in, but I get the impression that if I had objected she would have quickly let the house to someone else. There is not a lot of storage anywhere else in the house and I wouldn’t mind having an attic for storage, but what’s more serious is that the landlady lets herself into the house on a fairly regular basis to put stuff in the attic or remove it. Can she do this? I don’t like the idea of her roaming around the house when I am not there.
AThe situation you describe is somewhat unusual. You should revert straight back to the lease agreement you signed up to at the beginning of your tenancy. Go to the “Definitions and Interpretations” section of this document and look for the “Property” heading. It is generally at the very start of a lease agreement.
This should clearly outline and describe what is the “Property” and sets out areas inside and outside the property that the tenant has (or has not) use of. In some cases, it will refer to the attic. Maybe she has covered the fact that the use of the attic is not part of the property which you rent, although that would be very unusual. If it is not clear from the Definitions and Interpretations section then the attic question may be covered in a special conditions section in the agreement. If it is not, then I would suggest you simply approach the landlady and make a request to use the attic and ask her to remove her items. This would be a fair and reasonable request and should not be met with too much resistance. In saying that, she may respond by saying she has no other storage facility and is not prepared to go to the added expense of paying for storage which will eat into her rental income on which she already pays high tax. Open and honest communication is the best approach on this matter.
In regard to the landlady entering the house, it is not clear from your question whether or not you have given her permission? I am going to assume you have not given her permission to enter the property in your absence or otherwise.
The simple answer is no, a landlord may not enter the property while you are not there if you have not given permission to do so. This is a major breach of a landlord’s obligation to offer you quiet and peaceful enjoyment of the property.
In your lease there will be provisions where, with fair and reasonable notice, (typically 2-3 days’ notice) the landlord may enter the property but they must contact you to get permission to do so. Write a firm but friendly email to your landlady asking her to contact you before entering the property. However, in cases of emergency the landlord and/or a representative can access the property without giving you notice. This might be in situations such as a suspected fire or gas leak but not limited to these. Marcus O’Connor is a chartered surveyor and property manager and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland
QI’ve been living in a rental property for more than 7½ years. During this time there have never been any issues and I’ve had a good relationship with the letting agent who manages the property. I’m coming to the end of my second Part 4 tenancy agreement this summer, but would like to stay on in the property. My rent was increased at the end of 2017, but I’m conscious that it is still significantly below the current market rate. Can my landlord – who I know will not be moving in, nor are there any plans for renovation or sale – give me notice to prevent me starting a third Part 4 tenancy agreement? I’ve had conflicting advice on my legal position.
ASecurity of tenure for tenants is provided for in Part 4 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 as amended. When a tenant has been in occupation of a dwelling for six months they are then entitled to remain for a further 3½ years where the tenancy began before December 24th, 2016, or a further 5½ years where the tenancy began on or after December 24th, 2016, irrespective of whether a fixed-term lease agreement is in place. The initial four- or six-year tenancy cycle, depending on when your tenancy commenced, is known as a Part 4 tenancy. When this initial tenancy cycle ends and your occupation continues you enter in to a Further Part 4 tenancy.
Once the tenancy becomes a Part 4 or Further Part 4 tenancy there are only certain grounds the landlord can rely on to terminate the tenancy. The grounds referred to are: 1. The tenant has breached their obligations. 2. The property is no longer suited to the tenant’s needs.
Send your queries to email@example.com
or to Property Clinic, The Irish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2. This column is a readers’ service. The content of the Property Clinic is provided for general information only. It is not intended as advice on which readers should rely. Professional or specialist advice should be obtained before persons take or refrain from any action on the basis of the content. The Irish Times and its contributors will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from reliance on any content. 3. The landlord requires the property for personal or family use. 4. The landlord wants to sell the property. 5. Significant refurbishment of the property is to take place. 6. The use of the property is changing.
It is however important for tenants to note that there is a provision permitting a landlord to serve a notice terminating the tenancy before a Further Part 4 tenancy cycle commences without having to rely on one of the above grounds, although a reason for the termination must be provided.
The reason cited in the sample Notice of Termination is “that the landlord is entitled to terminate the tenancy before a further Part 4 tenancy cycle commences”. The notice must be in accordance with the law which is quite prescriptive, for instance, the notice period must expire on or after the end of the Part 4 tenancy.
The amount of notice needed to end a tenancy depends generally on how long a tenant has lived in the property. It can range from 28 days if the tenant is in occupation for six months, to up to 224 days if the occupation is for more than eight years. The RTB would recommend both landlords and tenants review our sample noti c es on our website: onestopshop.rtb.ie/ending-a-tenancy/
Tenants should note that if their tenancy is located in a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ), rents can only rise by up to 4 per cent annually. If tenants vacate and new tenants move in, the same restrictions apply on a landlord when setting the new rent. Outside of an RPZ a landlord can only review the rent once in any 24-month period and landlords cannot set a rent that is in excess of market rent.
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) encourages dialogue between landlords and tenants around any concerns that may arise during a tenancy to see if an agreement can be reached to enable the tenancy to continue.
Where an issue cannot be resolved the RTB provides a free mediation service where a trained mediator facilitates both sides in coming to an agreement. There is also the option of an adjudication hearing; this is a formal and confidential process whereby an appointed adjudicator makes a decision, based on evidence presented by both parties, the fee for an adjudication hearing is ¤15.
Determinations from both mediation and adjudication are appealable to a tenancy tribunal.
‘‘ A landlord may not enter the property while you are not there if you have not given permission to do so
Janette Fogarty, head of dispute resolution services, Residential Tenancies Board (RTB.ie)
In cases of emergency the landlord and/or a representative can access the property without giving you notice. This might be in situations such as a suspected fire or gas leak but not limited to these.