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Published by Harmonia Norah, 2017-09-29 07:26:51



The straight up facts you need to know to
navigate the murky world of renting

Where For most people, the idea of buying Are there exceptions?
a house is a pipe dream. Nightmare tales
to find Director of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB),
about queues that reach around the corner at viewings, Rosalind Carroll explains: “Not all rental properties in
bidding wars and unscrupulous estate agents make it RPZs are covered by the four per cent annual rental
It can feel
like you’re all seem like getting your first foot on restriction. Properties that have
on your own
but help and the property ladder is an not been let in the previous two
advice are
available impossibility, forcing people to stay years, and properties which have

1 The Residential in the renting game. The only been substantially refurbished,
Tenancies Board
The Residential Tenancies problem is, for regular Joes like us, Yo u r can be exempted. However, the
Board (RTB) is a state the rental market has gone just as pre-existing requirement that the
body that regulates the
rental accommodation loopy, which means renting rights as rent set for a property must be
market, provides anywhere decent is proving as in line with local market rents for
information and maintains
a national register of difficult as buying a house. Some a tenant: similar properties in the area still
tenancies. Your landlord landlords, looking to take advantage applies. A substantial
should be registered with
the RTB. It will also help of a housing crisis, have increased Property must be in good refurbishment must be a
to resolve disputes rents. This in turn is pushing some condition with hot and cold significant improvement to the
between you and your people out of houses they have water, heating and working dwelling resulting in increased
landlord with its dispute lived in for years, or is forcing them market value of the letting.
resolution service through to rent in areas that prove a appliances However, repainting or
mediation or adjudication,
even if you are paying commuting nightmare for work and You have a right to privacy. replacement of white goods
cash in hand because college, severely impacting their Your landlord cannot enter (fridge, washing machine etc)
your landlord is not quality of life. Not only that, the without your permission would not be enough.”
registered. ( desperation to find somewhere to unless it is an emergency
live is bringing out the scammers Want to find out if
2 Threshold who are targeting easy prey. Here, You must have a rent book your rent is fair?
This is a charity that aims we break down your new and or a written lease
to help people get existing rights as a renter and the The RTB has produced a rent
housing, particularly scams to look out for, as well as You must be given proper pressure zone calculator which
people facing financial solutions to common renting notice before your tenancy both landlords and tenants can
hardship. It also provides problems. Know them, learn them, can be terminated use to figure out if the property
independent advice and use them in your favour. Don’t let is within a RPZ. Just search
advocacy. ( anyone take advantage of you. You can refer your using the address and if it’s in a
disputes to the Residential RPZ then it will show you what
3 The Citizens New Legislation for Tenancies Board ( the maximum rent increase
Information Board Renting: The Facts even if your permitted for that property is.
This is a statutory body
that provides information, In December 2016 the Minister for landlord isn’t
advice and advocacy on
public and social services Housing picked out rent pressure a registered
including renting. You can landlord
call for advice or visit your zones (RPZs) in Dublin, Cork and 12 QUESTIONS
closest centre in your other Local Electoral Areas as well &ANSWERS
county, which are listed as 26 towns including Sallins,
on the website.
( Rathagan, Slane, Julianstown,
Duleek, Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin,
4 Daft
Not only can you find a Enniskerry, Douglas and Passage
place to live on site, but
Daft also has an active West. According to the new Problem
renting and tenants’ My landlord is refusing to give back my deposit,
rights forum where you legislation (The Planning and
can get advice or vent to
other tenants. ( Development and Residential Tenancies Act 2016), in saying that the apartment is not clean enough.

these areas, rents will only be able to rise up to a The place is as clean as we could get it (we

maximum of 4 per cent per annum to help stop rents even got a pro cleaner which cost us €150).

from rising too much in these areas. Anything that she has pointed out like marks

Why is this legislation on the walls and small stains on the carpet are

important? impossible for us to fix unless we get a

U reader Maria Dowling, 35, shares her story: “I had professional carpet cleaner or a painter in. This

been living in my two-bed apartment for four years seems a bit excessive seeing as we’ve been

and during that time the rent went up by €200 to living there for five years and the place was

€1,490. Myself and my boyfriend broke up the never even painted or renovated in any way

September before the new legislation came into effect in that time.

in December. I told our landlord that I wanted to stay Solution
on in the apartment. However, she used my boyfriend This is excessive. The deposit is held in security
moving out as an excuse to get rid of both of us because against damages, rent arrears or outstanding
after December 2016 she would have to let me stay up bills. If she is holding it on the basis of damage,
to the six years and wouldn’t be able to increase the this damage must go beyond the normal wear
rent for another two years. When the apartment went and tear that one would expect from living in
back up on a property website, it was available for a residence for a number of years. The cost of
€1,980. That is an increase of €700 over four years, bringing the apartment up to viewing standards
which just seems completely outrageous. My wages to attract new tenants is up to her. If you had
certainly haven’t increased by those kinds of margins. done this repair work beyond the usual wear
If the legislation had been in place earlier she would and tear, she would have to reimburse you for
not have been able to do that to me.” the work.

A landlord is obliged, to confirm in QUESTIONS Avoid
writing (or an email) to a tenant: the &ANSWERS Scams
amount of rent that was last set for
the tenancy, the date the rent was Problem According to An Garda
last set, and a statement on how the I moved to Dublin a few months ago and am Síochána there are three
rent set for the ‘new’ tenancy was renting a one-bedroom apartment. My main forms of fraud
calculated using the RPZ formula. husband is soon moving up for work and is involving property
going to live with me. However, my landlord renting.
Landlords who don’t said that if he moves in too he will have to
play ball charge us more rent. Is he allowed to do this? 1 The main one is when
the scammer claims to be
So what happens if you are living in a Solution out of the country and
RPZ but you are still charged more Under the law once you don’t increase the can’t show the property.
than the four per cent rent cap? bed space in the residence, for example add
Rosalind Carroll says: “The RTB offers in another bed, a dependent is allowed to 2 The scammer is living
a dispute resolution service and can live with you without incurring an increase at the property, shows a
hear a case where a tenant believes in the rent. number of people around
that their rent review isn’t valid. A case and disappears with
can be referred to the RTB up to 90 “Any landlord found to be several deposits.
days from the rent review notice. An in violation of the new
award can be made stating the validity of rent measures may find 3 Lastly, where everything
the rent review, and include the rent that themselves required to seems normal until the
should have been charged. As well as this, pay damages and refund renter finds out the keys
independent adjudicators have discretion any rent over the correct don’t work and the
to award damages for breach of landlord amount” landlord cuts off
or tenant obligations of up to €20,000. communication.
Any landlord found to be in violation of
the new rent measures may find Horror
themselves required to pay damages and Story
refund any rent over the correct amount.”
Living outside a RPZ? student Sophie Taylor
paid a deposit for a
Outside the RPZs, a landlord can only property on Middle
review the rent once in 24 months, and Abbey Street in Dublin
can’t review within 24 months of the start before viewing because
of the tenancy except in limited the alleged landlord of
circumstances (substantial refurbishment). the property told her she
The Residential Tenancies Act stops a should move fast or it
landlord from setting a rent above the would be gone. What
market value. If they are reviewing your happened next? The
rent, you must get 90 days notice in landlord cut off all
writing before it can take effect. The contact and when she
landlord must also show three other arrived to take a look at
examples of properties in the area at a the house, the real owner
similar value. told her it was never on
the market and she had
Peace of Mind been scammed. The
worst thing is, she wasn’t
There is no worse feeling than not knowing the first. The real owner
whether your lease will be renewed from revealed to the Irish
year to year, especially if you have school- Times that every month
aged children. The good news is that part or so someone would
of the new legislation provides that you arrive, just like Sophie,
can now have security for up to six years only to realise it had been
rather than just four. This can only be a cruel hoax.
interrupted if you haven’t fulfilled in your
obligations as a tenant (not paying rent, Of course students are
damaging the property or causing particularly vulnerable
nuisance etc), the landlord intends to sell because they are young,
the place within three months, needs the desperate and moving to
place for themselves or a family member a new city they might not
to live in or needs you out so they can know. But this kind of
carry out a substantial refurbishment hoax can happen to
which requires it to be empty (new roof, absolutely anyone who is
extension and so on). looking to rent online.

seems how &ANSWERS
too good you can The absolute horror situations that some
to be true, protect Problem students are forced to live in because
then it yourself: I am currently living in a two-bedroom they can’t afford or find suitable
probably apartment with a roommate. She has accommodation was revealed recently
is. Keep 1 Always meet the landlord decided to move out and I saw that the when the UCD Students’ Union did
your wits at the property you are landlord put an ad up on a property website, undercover viewings of houses in Dublin.
about going to view. advertising for a couple. They have also
you” 2 Never give a deposit increased the rent on the room from €800 One house in Drumcondra boasted it
without seeing the to €1,250. I don’t want to live with a couple could take 15 students, and the single
property first, especially if and feel like I have no say in the matter. rooms proved to be little less than one
the ad is online. room divided with half partition walls,
3 If it seems too good to Solution barely more than the width of a single
be true, then it probably is. According to the new legislation a landlord bed apart from each other. And for €600
Keep your wits about you. can only put the rent on a property up by a month, there was so little storage space
4 Always get a receipt. four per cent regardless of whether they are in the kitchen that kitchen utensils had
If you still have concerns, renting to new tenants or not. This legislation to be kept in the bathroom.
avoid paying in cash and is exactly to prevent the gouging of prices.
instead offer to pay the Make a call to the RTB and they can help Then there was the one-bedroom flat
deposit by bank transfer. with mediation. (basically a room) in Rathmines, Dublin
5 If you are paying cash, 6 which was €650 a month but the bed
make sure you do so at the Problem was a mattress, on the top of a wardrobe
property and get a key in I am currently living in Dublin and am moving and you had to get up there using a
return. home to Galway as I have a new job. I am only step ladder. This is becoming the new
6 Don’t be afraid to ask for seven months into my 12-month lease but my norm.
ID to confirm the person’s landlord says that I have to pay for the rest of
identity. the year. Is there anything I can do? Are you in bad or dangerous student
accommodation? Local authorities are
Solution responsible for enforcing minimum
You should never sign a lease for longer than standards and carry out regular
you intend to stay in a property. If you sign a inspections on rented accommodation.
12 month fixed-term lease and you break the These include the structural condition,
contract you can be held liable for the rent provision of sanitary facilities, food
payments for the remainder. You can offer to preparation, storage and laundry,
find someone to replace you, however. availability of adequate heating, lighting
and ventilation, safety of oil, electricity
and gas installations, fire safety and
refuse facilities.

If a tenant believes that their rented
accommodation is sub-standard, they
can contact their Local Authority and
request that it carries out an inspection.

When it comes to overcrowding, while
the legislation doesn’t provide for this, it
is generally expected that the most that
could share a room, depending on its size,
is two. Otherwise, serious health and
safety concerns can arise.

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