Letting Agreements

Due to the current economic climate more and more people are opting to rent rather than taking the plunge and purchasing a home. Therefore it is important that a properly drafted Letting Agreement is in place at the commencement of the tenancy. In the event of dispute between the Landlord and Tenant reference to the Letting Agreement will be the first port of call.

 

What should the Letting Agreement include?

The Letting Agreement should clearly set out all the details which have been agreed between the Landlord and Tenant before the commencement of the lease. The items which often give rise to dispute include the return of the deposit and the condition of the premises and contents. Also if there are any specific terms which have been agreed between the Landlord and Tenant these should be incorporated in the Letting Agreement. The Letting Agreement should be in a format which is up to date to take into account recent changes to the law in this area.

 

Deposits

It is usual that one month’s rent be paid in advance as a deposit. The Tenant is not entitled to withhold the last months rent in the expectation that the deposit will fulfil their obligations. At the end of the Tenancy provided that there are no deductions to be made by the Landlord for any breakages or excessive “wear and tear” then the deposit must be paid back to the Tenant.

 

Contents

A detailed inventory should be drawn up in advance of the Letting Agreement being signed and this should be agreed on between the parties. This will assist in avoiding or minimising disputes between the parties when the Tenant moves out of the property.

 

Obligation to Register the Tenancy

By law the Landlord must register the tenancy with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (“PRTB”). The tenancy must be registered by the Landlord within 30 days of the Letting Agreement being signed and the fee to register the tenancy is currently €70.00. If the tenancy is not registered within the 30 days then there is an additional penalty for late registration. In the event of a dispute arising between the Landlord and Tenant, which can not be dealt with by reference to the Letting Agreement, it is the PRTB who will be contacted and they will decide the outcome after consulting with both the Landlord and the Tenant.

 

Term of Tenancy

Once a Tenant is in occupation of a residential property for six months they are automatically entitled to a longer term tenancy of an additional period of 3 years and 6 months. This would mean that a Tenant could remain in occupation of a property for up to 4 years. However under the legislation there are certain circumstances when a Landlord can terminate a tenancy.

 

The above represents an outline of the law and practice relating to Letting Agreements. It does not constitute legal, personal or commercial advice. For further information on the subject, please contact the author, Joyce A. Good Hammond, at joyce@hgs.ie.