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New implications for Landlords – the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019

By: Maura Barron | Posted on: 18 Jun 2019

The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 (“the Act”) was enacted for the purpose of delivering greater stability and transparency to the rental sector and the changes are particularly pro-tenant. The Act introduces significant changes, some of which became effective from the 4th of June 2019 and others which will be phased in gradually over the coming months.

KEY CHANGES

The key changes introduced by the Act include the following:

Termination by Landlord

Time limit for entering a Contract for Sale when selling: Where a landlord intends to sell, the landlord must enter into a contract for sale with a purchaser within nine months of the termination date of the tenancy. This has increased from the previous three month time frame. The landlord must offer to re-let the property to the original tenant if it becomes available for let within the following twelve months from the expiry of the notice period.

Production of certificate when refurbishing: Where a landlord intends to substantially refurbish the dwelling, the landlord must provide certification by a registered professional confirming that the works would:

  1. pose a threat to the health and safety of the occupants;
  2. require vacation of the dwelling; and
  3. take at least three weeks to complete. 

The landlord must offer to re-let the dwelling to the original tenant once the works are complete.

When moving in or changing the use of the dwelling: Where a landlord intends to move in or move family members into the dwelling or where a landlord intends to change the use of the dwelling, the landlord must offer the dwelling back to the original tenant if it becomes available for let within the following twelve months, this has been extended from the previous six months.

Extension of notice periods: The Act has significantly extended the notice periods which a landlord must provide to a tenant when serving them with a notice of termination. The extended notice periods are set out at section 16 of the Act. The extended notice periods can be viewed here.

Rent Pressure Zones

Extension of designated Rent Pressure Zones: Rent Pressure Zones are areas where rent cannot be increased by more than 4% per year. There has been a change to the criteria of how an area is assessed for it to become a Rent Pressure Zone. All current Rent Pressure Zone designations have been extended to 31 December 2021.

Non-Rent Pressure Zones: In non-Rent Pressure Zone areas, landlords can currently only review the rent once twenty four months, this has been extended up to December 2021.

Investigatory Powers of the Residential Tenancies Board (“RTB”)

Anonymous complaint against Landlords: The RTB will have powers to investigate potential breaches and sanction landlords who engage in improper conduct. The RTB will be able to charge fines of up to €15,000.  From July 2019 anonymous complaints against landlords can be made via a dedicated phone line.

Yearly registration requirement: Landlords will also be required to register their tenancies on a yearly basis on the anniversary of the date the tenancy commenced.

 

The measures introduced by the Act aim to address ongoing concerns in the rental sector and are designed to enhance security for tenants in the current housing climate.

Key Contacts: Maura Barron, Valerie O'Driscoll, Jane O'Sullivan and Caroline McDonnell.

Disclaimer: This document is for information purposes only and does not represent legal advice. If you have any queries in relation to the above matters, please refer to the contacts above or alternatively to your usual contact in P.J. O’Driscoll & Sons LLP.

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