What are your Rights When it Comes to Accommodation?

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In this economy, it’s not easy living away from home. What makes a hard task even harder is when you’re being treated badly by a landlord. But when it comes to accommodation, what are your rights?

What are my rights in the rental market?

You should never have to live in squalor. If your home does not comply with the minimum standard, you can report it to your local authority or the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). If there are serious problems, which pose health or safety risks, such as vermin, problems with water, sewage or structural problems, you may be able to sue.

If your landlord locks you out or physically evicts you, you may be able to apply for an injunction to allow you back in, or apply to the Residential Tenancies Board to do so on your behalf. If your landlord cuts off water, gas, or electricity, you may be able to take legal action to restore the supply. Landlords cannot remove your possessions without a court order. If they take you to court, you should get advice about your situation from Threshold, or a Citizens Information Centre, or a solicitor.

What if I’m asked to move out?

If your landlord evicts you for a specific reason, then doesn’t carry out the intention (such as saying they want to live there themselves but then they don’t), you can report them to the Residential Tenancies Board. Reporting your landlord to your local authority or the Residential Tenancies Board and taking legal action is a big step so it is important to get as much legal advice and information from the right sources before proceeding.

Where can I get information about renting accommodation as a student?

The Residential Tenancies Board, the local authorities, Threshold and the Union of Students in Ireland all offer good support and advice in this area. In fact, the Residential Tenancy Board was set up by the government to register tenancies and mediate disputes between landlords and tenants. It provides information and advice on the private rented sector. However, this doesn’t cover the ‘rent-a-room’ scheme.

The Union of Students in Ireland ensures that students are aware of their rights in the renting sector in Ireland, leaving them less likely to get exploited. Their Finance & Accommodation Guide clearly outlines students’ rights as tenants and informs students who they can contact if they are experiencing problems.

Threshold is the national housing organisation which campaigns for a person’s right to housing and provides independent advisory services on housing-related issues. Local Authorities and Citizens Information Centres also provide legal and advisory services that can give you the information, advice and support you need to take further action against your landlord.

How can I get my deposit back?

Nothing in life is guaranteed except for death and taxes – but we’ve compiled a few tips to help you get your deposit back:

  1. Get a receipt.
  2. All rent and bill payments must by law be recorded either in your rent book or by receipt if you have a lease.
  3. Landlords must provide you with a list of all the household furniture and appliances. You should check this list and make sure everything is there and note the condition. Take a photograph of all rooms and damaged items and ask your landlord to date and sign them all. This ensures you can’t get charged for damages that were already there before you moved in.
  4. Inform your landlord of any repairs needed and allow him access to make those repairs.
  5. Give the right period of written notice when you are leaving Make sure you have no outstanding bills or rent payments.
  6. If your landlord fails to return your deposit or makes excessive and unfair deductions contact your seek legal advice.

And be careful, if something sounds too good to be true – it probably is! We’ve compiled a few tips here to prevent you from getting scammed:

  1. Get a proper receipt and check the keys you are given open and close the door before handing over your deposit.
  2. Never hand over cash. Pay in cheque or bank draft.
  3. Check the reputability of the landlord – find out if he is listed on the RTB register.
  4. Meet your landlord in person at the house. Ideally, do not go alone – bring a friend or relative with you.
  5. When viewing a property, look for a smoke detector and an unobstructed fire exit. Check that windows are not barred shut. Check that there is a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in your kitchen.

Read more about how to manage your money here.


Whichcollege.ie is a national database of universities, colleges, institutes and providers of third level and PLC courses in Ireland. We operate a national search database of courses at certificate, diploma and degree level as well as providing information about career paths and directions.
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