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).
Student Specific Accommodation is within the RTB’s Jurisdiction
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.
From 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 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” (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.
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), 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.
From 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).
From 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.