Types of tenancy agreements and leases 

There are various different types of tenancy agreements and leases available. The Residential Tenancies Act applies to every dwelling which is the subject of a tenancy. 

Tenants and landlords should be clear on their status within a tenancy. 

Tenancy Agreement / Lease  

A written tenancy agreement is known as a lease. The RTB acknowledges that rental law can be complex and intimidating to both landlords and tenants. To help landlords get things right with their tenancy agreements, the RTB has created a new Residential Tenancy Agreement template to assist landlord and tenants set out the terms of their relationship.

Please click here to download a Residential Tenancy Agreement template.

 

Fixed term tenancy 

A fixed term tenancy is one that lasts for a specific amount of time as specified in the tenancy agreement or lease. 

A ‘Part 4’ tenancy runs alongside a fixed term tenancy, which means the tenant shall, after a period of 6 months occupation, become entitled to the provisions of a ‘Part 4’ tenancy. 

This means that irrespective of the length of the fixed term lease, a tenant has an entitlement to remain in the dwelling for the duration of the ‘Part 4’ tenancy* and the landlord can only terminate the tenancy on limited grounds. 

* The duration of a ‘Part 4’ tenancy is dependenton when the tenancy began. 

Click here to see the reasons a landlord can end a fixed-term tenancy. 

 Once a tenant has been in occupation for a continuous period of 6 months (and a valid Notice of Termination has not been served), for tenancies that began;  

  • on/ after 11 June 2022, the ‘Part 4’ period extends for an unlimited duration.  
  • on /after 24 December 2016, the ‘Part 4’ period extends for a further 5 and a half years.
  • before 24 December 2016, the Part 4 period extends for a further 3 and a half years.  

Tenancies that existed prior to 11 June 2022 will convert to Tenancies of Unlimited Duration at the end of the current 6-year cycle. 

Tenancies that existed prior to 11 June 2022 will convert to Tenancies of Unlimited Duration at the end of the current 6-year cycle. 

Click here for further information on the duration of ‘Part 4’ tenancies. 

A ‘winter emergency period’, following the enactment of The Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Act 2022 on 29 October 2022 means certain tenancies which were due to come to an end between 30 October 2022 and 31 March 2023 will have the tenancy end date deferred. If the above protections mean a tenant gets to stay in the rented property for longer than 6 months, the tenant will not acquire Part 4 tenancy rights. Please click here to read more

A fixed term tenancy is a tenancy that lasts for a specific amount of time. A ‘Part 4’ tenancy runs alongside a fixed term tenancy, which means the tenant shall, after a period of 6 months and as in the normal course, become entitled to the provisions of a ‘Part 4’ tenancy (i.e. they can stay in the property for 4 or 6 years*). This simply means that irrespective of the length of the fixed term lease, a tenant has an entitlement to remain in the dwelling for up to 4 or 6 years* and the landlord can only terminate the tenancy on limited grounds. Click here to see on what grounds a landlord can end a tenancy. 

*depending on when the tenancy commenced. 

 

Approved Housing Bodies   

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) provide and manage social rented housing. They are not for profit organisations formed for the purpose of relieving housing need. AHBs provide housing in response to a range of different needs including families on low incomes; households with special needs; such as older persons; people with disabilities; and homeless persons. AHBs work in partnership with Local Authorities and take nominations from the Local Authority's social housing waiting list to fill available accommodation provided by the AHB. 

AHB tenancies must be registered with the RTB however where a licence arrangement is in place (e.g. hostel accommodation), these  tenancies would not come under the remit of the RTB.  

 

Registration fees

Please click here for AHB registration fees for tenancies registered prior to 4 April 2022. 

 

Setting and reviewing of rent in AHBs

For Approved Housing Bodies, the setting and reviewing of rent should be set out in the lease/ contract provided to the tenant at the start of the tenancy.

  • The timing of a rent review in an Approved Housing Body tenancy should be set out in the tenancy agreement. 
  • If the tenancy agreement does not refer to rent reviews, the rent can only be reviewed once every 12 months.
  • There is no set notice period for a rent review, but the law states that notice should be given 'as soon as is practicable'.

The use of comparable market rent in setting/ reviewing the rent does not apply to Approved Housing Bodies. 

 

Licences  

Typically most licence arrangements do not come under the remit of the RTB. Please note that because a licence is named as such, it does not necessarily mean it is not operating as a tenancy for the purposes of the RTB.  

Examples of a licence are a person staying in hotel, hostel or guesthouse or a person sharing a house with the owner.  

What is a licencee? 

A licensee is a person who occupies accommodation under license. Licensees can arise in all sorts of accommodation but most commonly in the following four areas; 

  • persons staying in hotels, guesthouses, hostels, etc;
  • persons sharing a house/ apartment with its owner e.g. under the ‘rent a room’ scheme or ‘in digs’;
  • persons occupying accommodation in which the owner is not resident under a formal license arrangement with the owner where the occupants are not entitled to its exclusive use and the owner has continuing access to the accommodation and/or can move around or change the occupants; and 
  • persons staying in rented accommodation at the invitation of the tenant. 

Please click here for further information on properties that are exempt from registration. 

 

Subletting and assignment 

It is important to know at the outset of a tenancy what subletting and assignment involve, and what the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords are in this area.  

What is subletting? 

Subletting occurs when a tenant permits another party to lease the rental property that the tenant has leased from the landlord. The tenant then assumes the position of landlord (known as the head tenant) in relation to his or her subtenant. Subletting usually occurs because the tenant has signed a fixed-term lease and wants, for whatever reason, to get out of the lease before it expires. Subletting can only take place with the consent of the landlord.

Where a landlord refuses the tenant the option of subletting, the tenant can serve a notice of termination to end the tenancy if they so wish. Subletting is not available in Approved Housing Body tenancies.

What is assignment? 

Assignment is where a tenant transfers his or her entire interest in a tenancy to a third party.  The original tenant then ceases to have any interest or involvement in the tenancy and the assignee becomes the tenant who now deals directly with the Landlord. 

If a tenant assigns a Part 4 tenancy to a person other than a sub-tenant, the protection provided by a Part 4 tenancy ceases.  The new assignee will require 6 months of continuous occupation in the dwelling before qualifying for Part 4 tenancy rights.

If a tenant assigns a dwelling to an existing sub-tenant, the Part 4 tenancy will continue to exist in favour of the new assignee for the remaining period of the original Part 4 tenancy and the assignee becomes the tenant of the Landlord. 

Assignment can only take place with the consent of the landlord.  Where a landlord refuses an assignment of a fixed term tenancy, a tenant can serve a notice of termination on the landlord. 

Tenants of Approved Housing Bodies are not permitted to assign or sublet the tenancy.