Student Specific Accommodation

Student Specific Accommodation is housing built or designated for students and used for the sole purpose of providing residential accommodation to students during the academic term.

Visual of a construction site

This webpage provides information for providers of Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) regarding requirements to register with the RTB and on legislative changes introduced under the Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021. 

These changes include new RPZ rent setting rules, limitations on deposits and advance payment of rent for both providers of SSA and landlords of the private rental sector, along with new notice periods specifically for students and SSA providers. More information can be found below.

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).

Is Student Specific Accommodation under the RTB’s Remit? 

Yes, the Residential Tenancies Act (Amendment) Act 2019 brought Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) under the remit of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) on 15 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 15 August 2019 must be registered with the RTB (further information on registration is below). 

It is important to note that this legislation clarifies that SSA is clearly within the jurisdiction of the RTB, regardless of whether there is a lease or license agreement in place meaning all SSA tenancies/licences entered on or after 15 August 2019, must now be registered with the RTB. 

All students, tenants and licensees can apply for Dispute Resolution with the RTB, and landlords who register their tenancies with the RTB can also do so. 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

Registration Requirements 

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 2021/2022.

Please note that all tenancies must be registered within one month of the tenancy start date.

  • To register your SSA tenancies for the 2021/2022 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 ssa@rtb.ie 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
Standard Fee

For TDS applications received within one month of the tenancy commencement date

€40 - no late fee 

 

 

 

 

Composite 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).

€170
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
Late 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. 

€10

New Legislation: RPZs, Rent Reviews, Deposits & Ending a Tenancy 

On 9 July 2021, the Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021 was introduced which brought about changes in relation to Student Specific Accommodation (SSA), RPZs, rent reviews and deposits. Below is an overview of what these changes mean for landlords and providers of SSA. Even though the legislation was enacted on 9 July 2021, some sections of the new Act took effect on different dates. For example, the new RPZ rent review rules take effect from 16 July 2021 and the limitations on deposits discussed below take effect from 9 August 2021. More information is provided below. 

What are the requirements for setting and reviewing rent in Student Specific Accommodation?

All SSA providers must comply with the law governing rent reviews. From 16 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.

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.

There are specific processes for rent reviews and rent setting. These can be viewed here for areas inside an RPZ, and here for areas outside an RPZ.

What restrictions are in place for the collection of a deposit or rent in advance? 

There are now limits on the amount landlords can require anyone to pay to secure a tenancy: 

  • A deposit cannot exceed more than one month’s rent; and 
  • An advance payment of rent cannot exceed one month’s rent. 

In other words, landlords cannot ask anyone to pay more than the equivalent of 2 months’ rent in total to secure a tenancy. These new limits apply to tenancies created on or after 9 August 2021. This means that these new rules only apply from 9 August 2021 and do not apply to a tenancy that was agreed to before this date.  

There is an exception to these new rules for students who occupy Student Specific Accommodation (SSA). Students may pay more than one month’s rent in advance if they wish to do so and with the agreement of the accommodation provider. For more information on security deposits click here

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?

Changes in the legislation now require students living in SSA to give providers of SSA a minimum of 28 days’ notice to end a tenancy. They may provide more notice, but there is no legal obligation to do so. 

A provider of SSA is required to serve a valid written notice of termination to end a tenancy agreement with a student tenant. Once there has been no breach of obligations and the tenancy has lasted more than six months, providers of SSA are now required to provide the same amount of notice period as the private rental sector, which is related to the duration of the tenancy. The minimum notice period a provider of SSA has to give a student tenant is 28 days’ notice. The required notice period increases thereafter depending on the length of the tenancy. 

The required notice period to end a tenancy for a SSA provider is: 

Duration of a Tenancy

SSA Provider Notice Period

Less than 6 months 28 days 
Not less than 6 months, but less than one year 90 days  
Not less than one year, but less than three years  120 days  
Not less than three years, but less than seven years  180 days  
Not less than seven years, but less than eight years  196 days
Not less than eight years 224 days

More details on terminating a tenancy can be found here

There are specific rules on how to end a tenancy for breach of tenant obligations, which includes anti-social behaviour. 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.