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.
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).
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 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.
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.
The registration process
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.
Since 04 April 2022, a landlord is obliged to apply to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to register a tenancy - or a licence in Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) - within 1 month of its commencement date and every year after this, on the anniversary of the date the tenancy began, for so long as the tenancy/SSA licence exists. For existing tenancies, from 04 April 2022, each year on the anniversary of the date the tenancy began, landlords must re-register that tenancy on an annual basis, for so long as the tenancy/SSA licence exists.
Please note: There has been no change to the registration requirements by the amending legislation introduced on the 6 July 2022 (click here).
IMPORTANT: the RTB online account portal and RTB1 paper form will not be available to register Student Specific Accommodation for the academic year 2022/2023.
Please note that all tenancies must be registered within one month of the tenancy start date.
To register your SSA tenancies for the 2022/2023 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” (available to download at the bottom of the page) 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.
Please see details on the fee structure below.
The Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) Register is a list of all SSA tenancies registered with the RTB at a point in time.
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), rent calculations are 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.
Since 6 July 2022, new legislation was enacted meaning there are new notice periods that landlords must give when terminating a tenancy, where there has been no breach of obligation by the tenant (e.g. when the tenancy is less than 6 months old, 90 days’ notice must be given). The new notice periods only apply to tenancies that are less than 3 years old.
There is no requirement to obtain the student’s contact details and offer the student the accommodation back if the ground for termination does not materialise (e.g. the landlord intended to sell and that sale falls through).
Since 6 July 2022, the notice periods an SSA provider must provide a tenant when ending a tenancy have increased. They are as follows:
Duration of a Tenancy - SSA Provider Notice Period
- Less than 6 months - 90 days
- Not less than 6 months, but less than one year - 152 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
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:
90-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.
Winter Emergency Period
Following the introduction of The Residential Tenancies (Deferment of Termination Dates of Certain Tenancies) Act 2022, which applies to Student Specific Accommodation, a notice period is still relevant where the Notice of Termination is served during this ‘winter emergency period’ lasting from 30 October 2022 to 31 March 2023.
For tenancies less then six months, the full 90 days’ notice must be allowed to run. A tenancy cannot end earlier then 18 June 2022 otherwise the Notice of Termination is invalid.
For tenancies over six months the normal notice periods apply.
An additional protection is in place for tenancies that are less than 6 months old. In these circumstances, where the NOT is served during the emergency period then the tenancy cannot end earlier than 18 June 2023, otherwise the NoT is invalid. (The usual 90 days’ notice must still be given).
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).
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.
Yes, this type of tenancy 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.
Yes, all students, tenants and licensees can apply for Dispute Resolution with the RTB. 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;
- 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.
A provider of SSA is required to serve a valid written Notice of Termination to end a tenancy agreement with a student tenant.
Students have 90-days to refer a dispute to the RTB in relation to the validity of a Notice of Termination that has been served for a reason other than failure to pay rent or other breach of tenant / licensee obligation.
Amending legislation, enacted on 6 July 2022, requires landlords to send a copy of any Notice of Termination to the RTB at the same time they serve it on the tenant. This does not apply to providers of Student Specific Accommodation who are not obliged to send copies of tenant Notices of Termination to the RTB. However, for data purposes, which is collected to improve the operation of the sector, SSA providers are encouraged to do so
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 90 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.
There are 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.
SSA Tenancy Data Sheet
To register your SSA tenancies for the 2022/2023 academic year, a Tenancy Data Sheet (TDS) must be completed
Guide to completing SSA Tenancy Data Sheet (Private Providers)
Composite Guidance Note: Student-Specific Accommodation
Guidance Note on Residential Tenancies (No.2) Act 2021
Sample Notice of Termination for Student Specific Accommodation