From relocating for work to simply moving on for pastures new, there are plenty of reasons why you may be considering renting out your home. However, there’s a lot to learn before you can advertise your property to rent, and even more to do before your first tenant moves in. To help make things easier, here is our step-by-step guide to how to rent out your residential property in Ireland.
Familiarise Yourself With Your Rights And Obligations
The decision to rent out your home comes with a lot of responsibilities and shouldn’t be taken lightly. There is a fairly long list of legal requirements for landlords in Ireland, regarding everything from the condition of the property to how often you can review the rent.
Doing plenty of research beforehand can help you avoid any missteps which could eventually result in penalties or fines. Luckily, there are plenty of helpful resources online that will point you in the right direction. Our article, 12 Things You Must Do As A Landlord In Ireland is a good place to start, while you can read more about your rights on the Citizens Information website.
Get Permission From Your Mortgage Provider
If your property is still under mortgage then you’ll need to get permission from your lender to rent out your home. This is because your original agreement will have been based upon you living in the property and a change in circumstance means it will need to be amended.
Getting permission is something everyone is aware of, but it’s a critical step in the process. If you neglect to tell your mortgage lender and they find out, then there could be very serious consequences. In the worst case scenario they may view it as mortgage fraud and could even demand that you repay immediately or they’ll repossess the property.
Bear in mind that your mortgage lender could charge a fee for giving consent to let or change your interest rate. There is also no guarantee that they will approve your request, though in most cases this is not something you need to worry about.
Advertise Your Property
You have lots of different choices for where to advertise your home for rent. Along with larger property portals like myhome.ie and daft.ie, you can also use sites like Gumtree. You can even avoid an online listing completely and instead place an advert in the local newspaper or in shops or college notice boards.
There are pros and cons to each type of method, as they all vary in cost, number of people likely to see your ad and the quality of tenants they might attract. You should also bear in mind that some of the property portals with the most visitors can only be used by letting agents acting on your behalf.
Find Suitable Tenants
In Ireland, demand is currently extremely high for rental properties. As a result, even if your property is outside a major city you shouldn’t struggle to generate interest. However, what’s more important than the number of applications is how many quality prospective tenants you find.
While there are no guarantees that a tenant will respect your property and pay their rent on time, having proper checks in place can help to minimise this risk. That’s why it’s vital that you properly vet each prospective tenant, not only through your conversations with them but also with high-quality referencing.
As a first-time landlord you may feel more comfortable using a third-party service to carry out referencing checks for you. These companies know exactly what to look for, and you can feel confident that they will pick up on any red flags.
Insurance is not required by most mortgage providers, but it’s highly recommended when renting out your home. Having proper landlord insurance in place can help to protect your asset should the unexpected happen.
As you are bringing tenants into the equation, your standard building insurance may no longer be adequate. Landlord insurance covers specific situations related to renting, such as costs incurred from an injury claim by your tenant. For a more detailed look into this topic, take a look at our post Everything You Need To Know About Landlord Insurance.
Arrange A Security Deposit
Once you’ve found suitable tenants, having them pay a security deposit is another way to protect your property. Though the money is the lawful property of the tenant, you can establish a right to it at the end of the tenancy if there is any damage (beyond normal wear and tear) or rent arrears.
Note that you cannot ask for a security deposit greater than the equivalent of one month’s rent. You can keep hold of the deposit yourself or have your agent take care of it for you. You must also provide the tenant with a signed and dated receipt for the deposit, and make it clear from the outset who is holding the money and responsible for its return.
Provide A Tenancy Agreement
At this stage, you will also need a tenancy agreement signed by you and your tenant. While an oral agreement is acceptable, they are naturally difficult to enforce should any issues arise. A written agreement offers clearly laid out terms that you both agree to.
There are numerous free tenancy agreement templates you can find online that will cover all the necessities, such as the amount of rent payable, how often it should be paid and the duration of the tenancy. These templates can simply be edited to include your specific information.
If there are other clauses you want to include, such as no smoking in the property or no pets, then you may need to add these in yourself. For the first tenancy agreement, you may feel more comfortable having a property professional look over it to make sure everything is in order.
Carry Out A Property Inventory
One of the best ways to avoid disputes at the end of a tenancy is to do a thorough property inventory at the start and end of each one. Disputes can be lengthy, expensive, and extremely stressful, so you should do whatever you can to prevent them. An inventory allows you to have documented evidence of the condition of your property and its contents and is an invaluable part of the renting process.
You can carry out a property inventory yourself or use the services of an inventory clerk to ensure a clear and accurate report. If you are using a property management company or letting agent, they will be able to arrange this for you. For more information on this topic, you can read our Landlord’s Guide To Property Inventories and our post on the benefits of using a property management company.
Register With The RTB
By law, all landlords in Ireland are required to register each tenancy with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). You can do this easily via the RTB website, where you’ll find step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the process, or you can register by post if you prefer.
The registration form asks for basic details like the type of property, floor area, and the number of occupants. Note that as part of this registration you will also need to provide a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate.
To complete the registration you must pay the RTB a standard fee that’s due within 30 days of the tenancy commencement date. You’ll need to register your tenancies with the RTB every year, and you’ll receive a reminder when your next registration is due.
If you are a non-resident, see our post on how non-residential landlords can avoid a 20% tax deduction on Irish rents.
There may be a lot to think about when renting out your residential property, but it can be a great solution for those who need to move but don’t want to sell up just yet. As well as being a rewarding experience, becoming a landlord can also be a sound financial decision and a way to generate additional income.
For first-time landlords in particular, working together with a property management company can ensure you have all your bases covered. At SCK Property we offer a range of services for landlords in Ireland from a straightforward lettings package to a complete end-to-end solution.
If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, we’d love to hear from you. You can take a look on our home page to learn about our services, or get in touch with any questions via our contact page. We also recommend taking a look at our letting and management services page as well.