The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015 (the "Act") was signed into law by the President on 4 December 2015. The Act introduces a number of provisions affecting residential tenancies that will have a direct and significant impact on landlords and tenants.
Some of the substantial changes brought about by the Act have commenced immediately. In particular, the restriction on rent reviews to once every two years and the changes to the notice periods for termination of tenancies now apply.
Other provisions will require a Ministerial order before they come into operation. The security deposit retention scheme has not yet commenced.
This memorandum describes some of the principal changes brought about by the Act.
The Act amends the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (the "2004 Act") in a number of significant respects. Its aim is to assist in bringing stability to the rental sector and to combat the increasing level of homelessness.
3 Principal amendments
The main changes brought about by the Act are:
the restriction on rent reviews to once every 24 months (instead of 12 months);
the changes to the notice periods required to be given by landlords and tenants when terminating tenancies and to the documentary requirements;
the introduction of a security deposit retention scheme, requiring tenants' security deposits to be transmitted by landlords to the Residential Tenancies Board (formerly called the Private Residential Tenancies Board)(the "Board"); And
the expansion of the 2004 Act to include tenancies by approved housing bodies.
3.1 Restriction on rent reviews
The new rent review provisions came into operation on 4 December 2015.
The principal aspects of the new provisions are:
rent reviews may only take place once every 24 months and cannot take place within the first two years of a tenancy (section 25(1) of the Act). This restriction will not apply where there is a substantial change in the nature of the accommodation provided which affects the market rent (section 20(3) of the 2004 Act);
if a tenancy commenced before this section came into force and where:
(a) less than 12 months has elapsed of the tenancy, there may not be a review of the rent for a period of 24 months from the start of the tenancy;
(b) a period of 12 months has elapsed and no rent review has been carried out, a rent review may not occur any earlier than 24 months from the start of the tenancy;
(c) a review of rent was carried out pursuant to section 20(3) of the 2004 Act (where the nature of the accommodation changed to the extent that the market rent was affected) and that was the most recent rent review, a rent review may not take place any earlier than 24 months from that last review; and
(d) one or more rent reviews have been carried out, a review of the rent may not occur any earlier than 24 months beginning on the date of the last rent review;
the two year restriction will not apply where:
(a) a review of rent was "being...