Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) is housing built or designated for students and used for the sole purpose of providing residential accommodation to students during the academic term. The Residential Tenancies Act (Amendment) 2019 brought SSA under the remit of the Residential Tenancies Board on 15 July 2019.
This legislation means that Higher Educational Institutions, such as universities or colleges, who provide SSA to students during the academic year are within the RTB’s remit. The legislation also clarifies that SSA provided by the private sector is clearly within the jurisdiction of the RTB, regardless of whether there is a lease or license agreement in place. This means that all tenancies / licences, which fall under the RTB's remit, which were entered into on or after 15 August 2019 must be registered with the RTB.
However, it is important to be aware that Rent a Room and DIGS style accommodation does not come under the RTB’s remit.
All students, tenants and licensees in SSA have access to the RTB Disputes Resolution Services and only landlords whose tenancies are registered with the RTB also have access. 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. Student tenants can use the RTB Dispute Resolution Service even if their landlord has not registered their tenancy. Further information on the Dispute Resolution Service, can be accessed here.
If you are a provider of Student Specific Accommodation, please click here for more information.
You have managed to secure a place in college and now it’s time to find somewhere to live. Finding accommodation at this time of year can be a challenge, as there is often an influx of new and returning college students. Although it can be tempting, you should not sign a tenancy agreement or pay a deposit for the first place you see - take some time to view other properties and find somewhere that can best meet your needs. Always view a property in person before signing a tenancy agreement. All landlords who rent to students are required to register their tenancies with the RTB. You can check online to see if your tenancy has been registered, or you can ask the landlord when they will be registering the tenancy.
All providers of property services (Letting Agents, Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Management Agents) operating in the Republic of Ireland are required by law to hold a PSRA licence and all students seeking to rent accommodation should ask to see the property service provider’s licence and note the licence number. This number can then be checked on the Register of Licensed Property Services Providers to ensure that the licence is not only valid and in date, but that the provider’s details match those on the Register. For further information visit www.psr.ie and to check the public register click here.
When viewing accommodation available to rent, remember that a landlord or agent can't discriminate against you because of your age, gender, race or sexual orientation. If you feel you have been discriminated against by an accommodation provider, you can contact the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commision.
Click here for more information about the equality legislation that covers private rented accommodation
When viewing accommodation available to rent, check that it meets basic minimum standards. All rented accommodation must meet a certain number of basic requirements, for example, hot and cold water must be available to the tenant. The Local Authority where the tenancy is located is responsible for making sure your accommodation complies with the minimum standards.
Local Authorities carry out inspections of rented accommodation to ensure the basic requirements are provided for tenants. If a landlord does not provide the basic requirements, they may be prosecuted. Landlords are encouraged to conduct regular inspections of their rented property, but should arrange these inspections with the tenant, providing adequate notice.
Landlords will often ask for a deposit at the start of the tenancy. A landlord of an SSA tenancy cannot ask you to pay more than one month’s rent as a deposit for the property. Ideally, you should only pay a deposit once you have viewed the property and are happy with the terms of the tenancy agreement. Once you’re happy with the property, pay the deposit and make sure to ask for a receipt that clearly states the amount paid and the date.
If possible, do not pay a deposit in cash.
The landlord holds the deposit until the end of the tenancy and should return it promptly when the tenancy ends. To ensure you get your full deposit back, it is important to follow the conditions outlined in the tenancy agreement, keep the property in a good condition, and return the accommodation in the same way it was provided. It is also important to remember that in some cases, a landlord may be entitled to keep a portion of the deposit.
For example, if you have not paid your rent and are in rent arrears at the end of a tenancy, a landlord may keep all, or a portion of, the deposit to cover the arrears. If there is damage to the property that is in excess of normal wear and tear, a landlord may keep all or a portion of the deposit to repair any damage done. If you are in a fixed term tenancy (e.g. 12-month tenancy) and leave the tenancy before the end of the fixed term, a landlord may be entitled to keep your deposit or deduct a portion of it to offset the costs of re-letting the accommodation and any rent lost from the fixed term.
Click here for a checklist that is helpful when seeking the return of a deposit.
If you are sharing accommodation with friends or other students, be clear at the start of the tenancy that you are all aware of the information contained within the tenancy agreement, and your rights and responsibilities as tenants.
For example, if three people sign a fixed-term tenancy agreement, and one tenant leaves the tenancy early, the other two tenants are now responsible for ensuring the total rent is paid. Tenants should make sure they have the contact details of the landlord or agent working on their behalf and should maintain open lines of communication with their landlord.
Rent Pressure Zones (RPZs) are located in parts of the country where rents are highest and rising, and where households have the greatest difficulty finding affordable accommodation. They are intended to moderate the rise in rents in these areas and create a stable and sustainable rental market that allows landlord and tenants to plan financially for their future.
If your tenancy is in an RPZ, rents cannot be increased by more than general inflation, as recorded by the Harmonised Index of the Consumer Price (HICP) and the rent previously set, cannot increase by more than 2% per annum pro rata, where HICP inflation is higher.. This applies to new and existing tenancies (unless an exemption is being applied). To check whether your tenancy is in a RPZ and if you are being charged the correct amount of rent, check out the RTB’s Rent Pressure Zone Calculator by clicking here.
At the start of a new tenancy in a Rent Pressure Zone, a landlord is required to provide the tenant, in writing, with the following information:
- The amount of rent that was last set, which is the rent amount the previous tenant was paying in the rental dwelling.
- The date the rent was last set, which is the date that the previous tenancy started or the date the landlord previously set and served the notice of rent review.
- A statement as to how the rent was set in the rental dwelling having regard to the RTB Rent Pressure Zone calculator which reflects the latest HICP.
It is important to remember that not all tenancies located in Rent Pressure Zones are subject to the Rent Pressure Zone rules. For example, if a property is new to the rental market and has not been rented at any time in the previous 2 years, it does not fall under the Rent Pressure Zone restrictions. Properties which are considered a protected structure or that have undergone a substantial change are also excluded from the Rent Pressure Zone restrictions.
Click here for more information on tenancies in Rent Pressure Zones.
Students and tenants in the private rental sector cannot be made to pay more than the equivalent of one month’s rent in advance during a tenancy.
There is an exception to these new rules for students who live in Student Specific Accommodation. A student is defined 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). These students who meet this criteria can pay more than one month’s rent in advance if they wish to do so and with the agreement of the accommodation provider.
For example, some tenants might prefer to pay 3 or 4 months rent in advance for their term instead of paying one month at a time. There is no legal obligation to do so, but it is allowed if the student wants to.
Students who are living in Student Specific Accommodation (SSA) are only required to give 28 days’ notice to the provider of SSA, if they want to end their tenancy arrangement.
Students can give a longer notice period if they want to, but there is no legal obligation to do so.
The RTB would always encourage all tenants and landlords to keep lines of communication open and address issues as they arise together.
If this is not possible, any tenant, student or licensee, or registered landlord, can apply for Dispute Resolution Services with the RTB. This service can be used by all tenants to resolve issues such as: rent reviews and rent setting, deposits, breaches of obligation including anti-social behaviour, and issues relating to standards and maintenance.
Further information on the Dispute Resolution Service, can be accessed here.
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