What do we mean by a student?
A student is defined under the Residential Tenancies Act as a person registered as a student with a relevant provider (within the meaning of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012).
What do legislative changes mean for Student Specific Accommodation?
The Residential Tenancies Act (Amendment) Act 2019 brought Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) under the remit of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) on 15th July 2019.
This means that:
- Higher Educational Institutions, such as universities or colleges, who provide SSA to students during the academic year and purpose-built SSA provided by the private sector are under the remit of the RTB.
- All student tenancies/licences entered into on or after 15th August 2019 must be registered with the RTB (further information on registration is below).
All landlords, tenants and licencees of student tenancies have rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act (as amended).
Landlords whose tenancies are registered with the RTB, tenants and licencees in SSA will all have access to the RTB Disputes Resolution service. This service can be used for issues such as rent reviews and rent setting, deposits, breaches of obligation including anti-social behaviour and issues relating to maintenance. Tenants can use the RTB Dispute Resolution service even if their landlord has not registered their tenancy. Information on the RTB Dispute Resolution service, can be found here.
All SSA providers must comply with the law governing rent reviews. From 16th July 2021, for tenancies in a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ), rent calculations are now based on a new Rent Pressure Zone calculator which produces a percentage increase in Harmonised Index of the Consumer Price (HICP) values between the date the rent was last set and the date the new rent is set. It applies that percentage to the most recent rent amount to produce the maximum permissible rent increase, in line with any HICP inflation. The calculator may also indicate that no rent increase is allowed.
Irrespective of the calculation made, there is no obligation on a landlord to increase the current rent amount and there is no legal obstacle to a rent reduction.
What is the registration process for landlords of Student Specific Accommodation?
IMPORTANT: The registration process outlined below is for SSA only. Privately-owned properties that are not purpose-built student accommodation blocks which are being let to students were always and continue to be under the remit of the RTB. This means these tenancies should continue to be registered as before. Information on the registration process for these types of tenancies can be found here. ‘Digs style’ student accommodation, similar to the rent a room scheme, remains outside of the RTB’s jurisdiction and do not have to be registered.
All providers of SSA are required to register their tenancies with the RTB. The registration requirements are different for SSA compared to those in the private rented sector. SSA requirements state that each room in a unit must be registered. If a room is being rented, each room is considered as a tenancy/license. In other words, each individual room will be treated as a dwelling.
How to Register a Student Specific Accommodation Tenancy:
IMPORTANT: the RTB online account portal and RTB1 paper form will not be available to register Student Specific Accommodation for the academic year 2020/2021.
Please note that all tenancies must be registered within one month of the tenancy start date.
- To register your SSA tenancies for the 2020/2021 academic year, a Tenancy Data Sheet (TDS) must be completed, this can be downloaded here. Please read the documents titled “Guide to completing TDS Private Providers” and “Composite Guidance Note” before completing the TDS.
- For SSA landlords who completed a TDS last year, the RTB will issue a personalised TDS out directly to them.
- Once a TDS has been returned, the RTB reviews it and calculates fees owed.
- Next, the RTB issue an invoice to the SSA provider. Further information on the fee structure for SSA tenancy registration is found below.
If you are a SSA landlord and have questions regarding the registration process please contact the RTB on email@example.com or via telephone on 0818 30 30 37 or 01-702 8100.
What are the Registration Fees for Student Specific Accommodation?
The registration fee structure for Student Specific Accommodation is set out below:
|Fee Type||Type of Application||Fee|
For TDS applications received within one month of the tenancy commencement date
€40 - no late fee
Between 5 and max of 10 tenancies in one building being registered at the same time, by the same landlord and within 1 month of the earliest Tenancy Commencement Date of that group of tenancies.
For example, one accommodation block, with one main entry, has 26 student units. The total fee is 3 composites = 3 x €170 = €510 (total to be paid for registering the tenancies).
|2nd or subsequent registration within a 12 month period||No fee will apply to the 2nd or subsequent registration in a 12 month period, in respect of the same dwelling.||No fee|
Application is recieved more than one month after the Tenancy Commencement Date and in respect of each month or part of a month after such date.
There is no maximum late fee applied, as the late fee will continue to add up until it is paid.
What are the requirements for setting and reviewing rent in Student Specific Accommodation?
All SSA providers must comply with the law governing rent reviews. For tenancies in a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ), the rent cannot be increased by more than 4% annually. The restrictions on rent reviews to tenancies in RPZs applies to both new and existing tenancies/licences.
The Rent Pressure Zone rules have always applied to private providers of Student Specific Accommodation.
What security of tenure rules apply in Student Specific Accommodation?
The normal security of tenure rights whereby after six months of the tenancy a tenant has the right to stay on for a further five and a half years do not apply in Student Specific Accommodation.
What are the notice periods to end a student tenancy?
A landlord of Student Specific Accommodation is required to serve a valid written notice of termination with a notice period of no less than 28 days. A reason must be provided for tenancies that have lasted for more than six months.
The below outlines the type of notices to be served where the student has not fulfilled their tenancy obligations:
- 28-day notice may be served for a tenant’s breach of obligations where there has been anti-social behaviour or rent arrears, for example.
- 7-day notice may be served for serious anti-social behaviour where there is a high and imminent risk of death, serious injury or danger to any person living, working or otherwise lawfully in the dwelling concerned or its vicinity or to the structure of the property as a result of a student’s anti-social behaviour. This is the most severe notice of termination available under the legislation and the burden of proof is high where cases are taken to the RTB by the landlord. The landlord does not have to serve a warning notice if they believe the behaviour of the tenant meets the criteria as listed and there is evidence to show this.
How to serve a valid notice of termination?
For the notice of termination to be valid it must:
- Be in writing.
- State the reason for termination (if applicable).
- Be signed by the landlord or authorised agent.
- Give the date that the notice is sent.
- Give the date by which the tenant must leave the property and state that the tenant has the full 24 hours of this date to vacate the property.
- State that the tenant has 28 days to refer the notice to the RTB if they have any question about the validity of the notice or the right of the landlord to end the tenancy.