Though it can be hugely rewarding, becoming a landlord in Ireland is also a big responsibility. There are plenty of rules and guidelines surrounding being a landlord, and as with most businesses, paperwork plays a role in getting set up and ensuring you are compliant with the law. Here are all the documents and paperwork that you need to be a landlord in Ireland, along with some others that you might want to consider.
Though it is not an obligation, you may like to take part in the Betterlet RTB Accredited Landlord Scheme. Through the accreditation training, you will learn about best practices for managing tenancies, about how to prevent and resolve disputes, and about how to make sure a property complies with minimum standards.
The training is completely free and carried out over one day, followed by a short multiple choice assessment. If you pass the assessment, you will be accredited for 2 years and reviewed on an annual basis. You are expected to keep your accreditation status up to date by attending a further training session within thos 2 years. Other top up modules will also be made available to you so you can get a rounded overview of the ins and outs of being a landlord in Ireland.
Even if you feel confident in what you are doing, becoming accredited will give you additional peace of mind that you know your rights and obligations. It will also help assure future tenants that you will follow proper protocol and that you take your responsibilities as a landlord seriously.
Again, this is not a requirement of becoming a landlord, but good insurance is highly recommended to help protect you and your investment. You can find options for buildings only insurance or for buildings and contents insurance, which you might like to consider if you are offering your property furnished.
What is covered will vary by policy and provider, but landlord insurance will protect you against things like:
- Damage from floods or fires
- Accidental damage to the property
- Landlord advisor costs if your tenant breaches their contract
- Alternative accommodation and loss of rent due to damage
- Replacement locks if the keys are stolen
- Emergency home assistance
Naturally, you should always do your research to make sure your landlord insurance cover is adequate and shop around to make sure you get the best quote. It may be an additional expense, but it could save you plenty of money in the long run should the unexpected happen.
Registration With The RTB
In most cases, an absolute must of becoming a landlord is that you will need to register your tenancies with the Residential Tenancies Board, or RTB, within a month of them starting. If you don’t register you will be breaking the law, and the consequences are not to be taken lightly.
You could face a fine of up to €3,000 and/or up to 6 months in prison, along with a daily fine of €250 for a continuing offence. After the initial registration, you are also required to register your tenancies on an annual basis.
There are a few kinds of properties that don’t need to be registered with the RTB. These are:
- Business premises
- Holiday lettings
- Formerly rent-controlled properties or long-occupation lease tenancies (separate legislation applies to these)
- Owner-occupied accommodation (for example, if you rent a room in your landlord’s home)
- Properties where your spouse, parent or child lives in an informal arrangement (ie there is no tenancy agreement in writing)
- Social housing provided by local authorities
The good news is that, if you do need to register, doing so is fairly quick and easy, and will set you back just €90. You can register online here with just some basic information about the property and the tenant.
Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificate
As a landlord, you are required to ensure that the property meets certain minimum standards. Part of that is obtaining a BER certificate. This indicates the property’s energy performance on a scale of A to G (A being the most energy efficient and G being the least).
It may be that the property already has a BER certificate. You can search for an existing certificate here using either the BER/DEC number (printed on the BER or DEC certificate) or the Meter Point Reference Number (MPRN). If the certificate already exists then you can simply request a copy.
If your property does not have a BER Certificate you will need to arrange for an assessment. This involves an assessor conducting a survey of the property to assess the building fabric and to determine the amount of energy the home requires for heating, hot water and ventilation, and lighting.
Once you have it, the certificate is valid for 10 years, providing no major changes are made to the property that might impact its energy efficiency. You can find out more about the process and what you will need to prepare here.
Once you have found a suitable tenant, having a thorough tenancy agreement in place will make sure that you are both clear on the terms and what is expected of each other. Though this can technically be a verbal agreement, having it in writing is in the interest of both parties as it is easy to refer back to should any problems arise.
Fortunately, most tenancy agreements have the same main clauses, and there are free templates online that you can simply customise to suit your property and your particular arrangement. The most important terms to include in a tenancy agreement are:
- your full name and address
- the full name of the tenant(s)
- the address of the property being rented
- the amount of rent to be paid, when it is due, how it should be paid and what it covers (for example does it include any bills?)
- the length of the agreement
- the amount of the deposit
- whether the tenant has permission to leave before the end of the tenancy, and if so, the notice he or she has to give
- a schedule of contents i.e. inventory
- any other agreed rules, for example, about pets, guests or smoking
Before a tenant moves in, then it’s a wise idea to provide an inventory of your property detailing its contents, condition and furniture. Ideally, this should also include photos so there is visual evidence to back it up.
As both you and the tenant sign off on the inventory, it can be a great way to avoid any disputes when the time comes for the tenancy to end. Without it, any blame for damage or missing items will come down to your word against theirs, causing issues that can potentially carry on for months at a time.
There are plenty of companies that will carry out an inventory on your behalf, though if you prefer you can do it yourself. To give you an idea of what to include, you can take a look at a sample inventory report here.
They may seem a little old fashioned, but under the Housing (Rent Books) Regulations 1993, tenants are entitled to a rent book which you are obligated to provide. If you refuse to provide one you are breaking the law, and the tenant can file a complaint against you to your local authority, which may result in legal action.
You can easily get hold of a rent book at a stationer’s or an online retailer like Amazon, and it will only set you back a few euros. In it, you should record all payments made by the tenant and note basic information on the tenancy including your contact details. The tenant keeps hold of the rent book, and you must either request it from them to record their payments or give them a signed receipt with the payment details.
There’s a lot to think about when you become a landlord, and having all the right documents and paperwork in place will start you off on the right foot. At SCK Property, we offer a range of lettings services from finding tenants and arranging tenancy agreements to a complete end-to-end property management package. If you would like some assistance with getting set up we would love to hear from you. Or send us a message through our contact form and we will get back to you within 1 working day.