Types of tenancy agreements / leases

There are various different types of tenancy agreements / leases available. The Residential Tenancies Act (2004, as amended) applies to every dwelling, which is the subject of a tenancy.

Tenants and landlords should be clear on their status within a tenancy.

Tenancy Agreement / Lease 

A written tenancy agreement is known as a lease.

Fixed term tenancy

A fixed term tenancy is a tenancy that lasts for a specific amount of time. A ‘Part 4’ tenancy runs alongside a fixed term tenancy, which means the tenant shall, after a period of 6 months and as in the normal course, become entitled to the provisions of a ‘Part 4’ tenancy (i.e. they can stay in the property for 4 or 6 years*). This simply means that irrespective of the length of the fixed term lease, a tenant has an entitlement to remain in the dwelling for up to 4 or 6 years* and the landlord can only terminate the tenancy on limited grounds. Click here to see on what grounds a landlord can end a tenancy.

*depending on when the tenancy commenced

Approved Housing Bodies   

Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs)  provide and manage social rented housing and from 7th April 2016 they came under the remit of the RTB. They are not for profit organisations formed for the purpose of relieving housing need.There are approximately 520 Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland with a stock size of over 30,000 homes. AHBs provide housing in response to a range of different needs including families on low incomes, households with special needs, such as older persons, people with disabilities and homeless persons. AHBs work in partnership with Local Authorities, and take nominations from the Local Authority's social housing waiting list to fill available accommodation provided by the AHB.

Housing Associations were given a period of 12 months from the commencement of the Act in April 2016, for the initial registration of their tenancies at a reduced cost (€45 for a period of 12 months only). AHB tenancies must be registered with the RTB however where a licence arrangement is in place e.g. hostel accommodation these would not come under the remit of the RTB. 

Licences  

Typically most licence arrangements do not come under the remit of the RTB. Please note that because a licence is named as such, it does not necessarily mean it is not operating as a tenancy for the purposes of the RTB. 

Examples of a licence are a person staying in hotel, hostel or guesthouse or a person sharing a house with the owner. 

What is a licencee?

A licensee is a person who occupies accommodation under license. Licensees can arise in all sorts of accommodation but most commonly in the following four areas;

  • persons staying in hotels, guesthouses, hostels, etc.,
  • persons sharing a house/apartment with its owner e.g. under the ‘rent a room’ scheme or ‘in digs’,
  • persons occupying accommodation in which the owner is not resident under a formal license arrangement with the owner where the occupants are not entitled to its exclusive use and the owner has continuing access to the accommodation and/or can move around or change the occupants, and
  • persons staying in rented accommodation at the invitation of the tenant.

Subletting and assignment

It is important to know at the outset of a tenancy what subletting and assignment involve, and what the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords are in this area. 

What is subletting?

Subletting occurs when a tenant permits another party to lease the rental property that the tenant has leased from the landlord. The tenant then assumes the position of landlord (known as the head tenant) in relation to his or her subtenant. Subletting usually occurs because the tenant has signed a fixed-term lease and wants, for whatever reason, to get out of the lease before it expires. Subletting can only take place with the consent of the landlord.

Where a landlord refuses the tenant the option of  subletting, the tenant can serve a notice of termination to end the tenancy if they so wish. Subletting is not available in Approved Housing Body tenancies.

What is assignment?

Assignment is where a tenant transfers his or her entire interest in a tenancy to a third party.  The original tenant then ceases to have any interest or involvement in the tenancy and the assignee becomes the tenant who now deals directly with the Landlord.

Assignment can only take place with the consent of the landlord.  Where a landlord refuses an assignment of a fixed term tenancy, a tenant can serve a notice of termination on the landlord.

Tenants of Approved Housing Bodies are not permitted to assign or sublet the tenancy.