Student-specific accommodation - important changes to rental law
Recent legislation brings changes to the law relating to Student Specific Accommodation (SSA). Student Specific Accommodation is housing built for students or designated for students.
The new legislation means:
- Higher Educational Institutions who provide SSA to students during the academic year are now under the remit of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)
- 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.
These changes apply to student tenancies which commenced on or after 15 August 2019.
What do these changes mean for Student Specific Accommodation?
All tenancies / licences entered into on or after 15th August 2019 must be registered with the RTB (see below for further information on registration).
This means that now all Landlords, Tenants and Licencees have rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act (as amended).
Landlords, Tenants and Licencees in Student Specific Accommodation will all have access to the RTB Disputes Resolution process. 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. Further information on the dispute resolution service, can be accessed here.
It is important to note that tenants and licensees will have access to this service regardless of registration.
What is the registration process for landlords of Student Specific accommodation?
All tenancies / licences entered into on or after 15th August 2019 must be registered with the RTB.
For the purposes of registration, it is the tenancy/licence that is registered. If a room is being rented it is a tenancy/licence per room. Each individual room will be treated as a dwelling. Where units with multiple rooms let e.g. family sharing it is the self contained dwelling that should be registered.
Please note that the registration rules will vary for non-student specific accommodation in the private rented sector . More information can be found here
- For the 2019/2020 academic year, there will be a 3 month transitional period to register tenancies which commenced on or after 15th August 2019. This means that Landlords will have 3 months to register tenancies that commence on or after this date.
- All new registrations thereafter will be required to register within one month after the tenancy commencement date.
If you are a landlord of SSA, you should contact the RTB on firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone on 0818 30 30 37 or 01-702 8100 for more information to progress your registration.
Please note the online portal and RTB 1 paper form will not be available to register these tenancies for the academic year 2019/2020.
What are the Registration Fees for Student Specific Accommodation?
The registration fee structure for Student Specific Accommodation is set out below:
|Fee Type||Type of Application||Fee|
For the 2019/2020 academic year, from 15th August 2019 there will be a 3 month transition period to register tenancies. This means that Landlords will have 3 months to register tenancies that commence on or after this date.
Once the transitional period ends, registrations are required 1 month after the Tenancy Commencement Date.
€40 - no late fee
Between 5 and max of 10 tenancies in one building being registered at the same time, by the same landlord and within 1 month of the earliest Tenancy Commencement Date of that group of tenancies.
For example, one accommodation block, with one main entry, has 26 student units. The total fee is 3 composites = 3 x €170 = €510 (total to be paid for registering the tenancies).
|2nd or subsequent registration within a 12 month period||No fee will apply to the 2nd or subsequent registration in a 12 month period, in respect of the same dwelling.||No fee|
Application is recieved more than one month after the Tenancy Commencement Date and in respect of each month or part of a month after such date.
There is no maximum late fee applied, as the late fee will continue to add up until it is paid.
What are the requirements for setting and reviewing rent in Student Specific Accommodation?
All Student Specific accommodation providers must comply with the law governing rent reviews. This means that any tenancy in a Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) must abide by the maximum annual rent increase of 4%. It is important to note that restrictions on increasing rents applies to both new and existing tenancies / licences and therefore even the maximum rent that can be increased in any year regardless is still 4%
It is important to note these Rent Pressure Zone rules have always applied to private providers of Student Specific Accommodation.
While some have been operating under agreements named as licenses, this does not necessarily mean they were previously exempt from the RPZ rules.
Please note that simply 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 and the Residential Tenancies Act (as amended) .
Please note that there are specific processes for rent review and rent setting. For more information please click here.
What security of tenure rules apply in Student Specific Accommodation?
The normal security of tenure rights whereby after six months of the tenancy a tenant has the right to stay on for a further five and a half years does not apply in Student Specific Accommodation. However there are notice entitlements for termination (see below).
What are the notice periods to end a student tenancy?
A landlord of Student Specific Accommodation is required to serve a valid written notice of termination with a notice period of no less than 28 days and provide a reason.
The below outlines the notices to be served where the student has not fulfilled their tenancy obligations:
- 28 days notice – breaches of obligations
- 7 day notice may be served for serious anti social behaviour where there is a high and imminent risk of death, serious injury or danger to any person living, working or otherwise lawfully in the dwelling concerned or its vicinity or to the structure of the property as a result of a student’s anti-social behaviour. This is the most severe notice of termination available under the legislation and should not be served by a landlord unless strong proof is available. The landlord does not have to serve a warning notice if they believe the behaviour of the tenant meets the criteria as listed and they have the evidence to back it up.
How to serve a valid notice of termination?
For the notice of termination to be valid it must:
- Be in writing.
- State the reason for termination
- Be signed by the landlord or authorised agent.
- Give the date that the notice is sent.
- Give the date by which the tenant must leave the property and state that the tenant has the full 24 hours of this date to vacate the property.
- State that the tenant has 28 days to refer the notice to the RTB if they have any question about the validity of the notice or the right of the landlord to end the tenancy.
Does the new legislation affect non- Student Specific Accommodation?
Landlords in the private rented sector who provide accommodation to students that are not “purpose-built” for students remain under the remit of the RTB and should continue to register their tenancies as they have always done. Information on the registration process is here. These landlords and their tenants also continue to have access to RTB services. To read more about tenant and landlord rights and responsibilities in the private rented sector click here.
‘Digs style’ student accommodation, similar to the rent a room scheme, remains outside of the RTB’s jurisdiction.
What do we mean by a student?
A student is defined under the Residential Tenancies Act 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).