The following is a general note for guidance only and individual circumstances of particular cases may vary.
An illegal eviction may occur where a landlord through force, intimidation or otherwise (such as cutting off utilities, changing the locks etc) denies a tenant from accessing a rented dwelling or removes a tenant’s belongings from the dwelling whether or not a valid of Notice of Termination had been served in respect of the tenancy. Section 58 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 provides that since 1st September 2004 a tenancy may not be terminated by the landlord by means of a notice of forfeiture, a re-entry or any other process or procedure not provided for under Part 5 of the Act.
Termination of a tenancy requires the service of a valid Notice of Termination giving the appropriate amount of notice, which is 28 days where the tenancy has lasted less than 6 months or termination is for breach of tenancy obligations and the notice period increases with the duration of the tenancy (section 66 of the Act). Specific further requirements apply in respect of Fixed-Term Tenancies and where rent arrears are involved and the leaflet on Termination available on www.rtb.ie should be consulted on this point. Termination of a tenancy for serious anti-social behaviour of the type that falls within paragraph (a) or (b) of the definition of anti-social behaviour in section 17 of the Act also requires the service of a valid Notice of Termination but the required notice period is only 7 days. If a tenancy is for a fixed term of less than 6 months and the landlord wants the tenancy to terminate on the expiry of the fixed term, it is advisable that the landlord makes it clear to the tenant that he/she requires the tenancy to end on expiry of the fixed term so that the tenant does not have an expectation of acquiring a Part 4 tenancy and continuing on the tenancy.
If a Notice of Termination is not complied with and the tenant overholds, a landlord can refer a dispute to the RTB about the tenant failure to comply with a valid Notice of Termination. A dispute case referred to the RTB about an illegal eviction will be given priority and there are procedures in the Residential Tenancies Act under which the RTB may apply to the Circuit Court for an interim or interlocutory injunction to restrain the landlord and re-instate the tenant pending the Board’s determination of the dispute.
If a tenant has vacated a dwelling and the rent is at least 28 days in arrears, the tenant’s tenancy is deemed terminated under section 37 of the 2004 Act and the landlord (if satisfied that these conditions are met) is free to recover possession.
“Even though care has been taken in the preparation and publication of this guidance note the Private Residential Tenancies Board, its servants or agents assume no responsibility for and give no guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up to date nature of the information provided in this guidance note and do not accept any liability whatsoever arising from any errors or omissions contained therein".