Renting in Ireland: all the info you need to know

The first thing you might want to find after you move to another country is accommodation. And yet, sometimes the best solution is to take a room for rent or even a house. Check this overview on how to find a room/house for rent in Ireland. 

You might have found a job in Ireland but you are still looking for a place to stay. It’s a common situation in Ireland as finding accommodation is a very big step. Whether you’re looking for a room or house for rent, here is some basic information you will need when navigating the Irish housing market and making yourself at home. Sharing a house or a room in Ireland is a very common option, especially for single people in larger cities where demands and rents are soaring. Rents and house prices vary widely by location and are higher in cities. Of course, while rent in Dublin is higher than other parts of the country, it also has the widest range of amenities and access to jobs, as well as an excellent transport system. In larger areas, the housing market is more competitive. 

Before actually viewing a room or a house for rent, you might want to consider some important factors, such as: 

  • How much you can afford in rent and utility bills
  • The quality of the accommodation
  • The Building Energy Rating (BER) of the property
  • The location of the property
  • How long you plan to stay there
  • Whether you want to share a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen

Where to look?

Most of rooms, houses or apartments in Ireland are advertised on: 

  • Social Media like Facebook, which has a great number of groups where you can list/ask or actually see the rooms in pictures, Instagram, sometimes with the #spotahomedublin, #room4rentdublin. 
  • Housing websites like (daft.ie, roomster.com, nestpick.com and others)
  • Newspaper pages (like the Herald
  • some college/university boards.
  • Real Estate Agencies like Savills, REA, Sherry Fitzgerald are the most reliable ones.

Agencies may charge you a fee. Before registering with an agency, you should find out:

  • Is the agency licensed?
  • What services does it offer?
  • If you pay a fee, in what circumstances will you be entitled to a refund?
  • If you decide to register with the agency, make sure you get a receipt for any money you pay.

Documents required

When searching for a room or a house for rent in Ireland, or when applying to any registered accommodation service you might be required to present the following documents:

  • Employer reference (name, address and telephone number that can prove the employment)
  • Previous landlord reference with a valid telephone number
  • You ID or passport (especially if you come from a country outside EU/EAA or other countries)
  • Bank details that can prove you’re secure enough to afford accommodation

By law when you have picked your accommodation, the landlord will ask you to sign a Tenancy Agreement (lease) which is a legally binding contract signed by both you and the owner of the property. This lays out the conditions such as the rate of rent, the duration of the lease, and what will happen if the terms are broken. A lease is usually for 6 or 12 months.

Deposit

All leases are governed by law. Usually, the deposit is intended for those who already have a regular contract or are about to do so. This delicate phase implies direct contact with the landlords and the tenants holding the contract. The deposit is usually the amount of money (most times a month’s rent) that you will be asked to give to secure the room and it will be used as a sort of warranty in case of any rent arrears or damage beyond normal wear and tear. You should get a receipt for any deposit you pay. Make sure to pay by bank transfer to have physical proof of the transaction. Your rent book should state how much of a deposit you paid. You may lose your deposit if:

  • You leave without giving proper notice or leave before the end of a fixed-term lease
  • You cause damage to the accommodation beyond normal wear and tear
  • You leave with bills or rent unpaid.

NB: Holding deposits are often not refundable if you don’t take up the accommodation.

Before actually paying, check everything out to make sure it is all in order (lights, shower, locks, mould/damp) and raise any issues with the landlord before paying the deposit. 

Check these things out: 

  • A washing machine
  • A clothes-dryer if the dwelling does not have a private garden or yard
  • Oven
  • Cooker hood or extractor fan
  • Fridge and freezer, or a fridge-freezer
  • Microwave oven
  • Kitchen cupboards that are suitable and adequate for storing food
  • Sink with mains water supply, hot water and draining area
  • A sink with hot and cold water
  • A separate room, for the exclusive use of each rented unit, with a toilet, a washbasin and a fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water
  • A fixed heating appliance in each room, which is capable of providing effective heating and which the tenant can control
  • A fire blanket and smoke alarms
  • Access to vermin-proof and pest-proof refuse storage facilities

Tenancy Agreement

As mentioned before, the tenancy agreement is the contract you and your landlord would sign in order to make the lease valid. Before agreeing to rent a property, you should check what additional costs you will be required to pay. In some cases, these may be included in the rent however in most cases they will be the responsibility of the tenant, as the user of the service. In taking on additional charges it is advised that you:

  • Get the account set up in your name if possible.
  • If sharing, clearly agree on how everyone will contribute to the bills.
  • If you are not the account holder always get a copy of the bill to ensure it is accurate and that you are only paying for what you are responsible and not taking on previous arrears.

Tenants will be usually satisfied with the state of the apartment or home they are renting. As a tants you’re allowed to:

  • Putt hooks in the wall for wall hangings 
  • Ad window treatments and accompanying hardware 
  • Connect phone/internet lines 
  • Install satellite dish television accessibility or other forms of pay television 
  • Plant flowers or vegetables 

However, there are other changes that a tenant might want to make that are more significant in both altering the home and cost. In these instances, it is best for the renter to seek permission from the landlord before:

  • Changing interior or exterior paint colours 
  • Replacing a mounted light fixture 
  • Repairing or replacing appliances 
  • Installing any type of new flooring 
  • Erecting play structures for their children 
  • Removing and replacing locks or a security system (however, it is important to note that in the case of an emergency, such as a burglary, the tenant may be entitled to proceed with changing the locks prior to notifying the landlord).

Private Tenancy 

Renting from a private landlord means you have an agreement or contract with that person or body, which may or may not be written down. The most common types of tenancy are fixed-term tenancies and periodic tenancies

A fixed-term tenancy is an agreement that covers a specific amount of time. Generally, but not always, set down in a written contract. It may be for any period but can range from as little as 6 months up to a year or more. It is important to note the following points about a fixed-term tenancy:

  • Your landlord cannot end the tenancy before the end of the fixed term unless you have breached your obligations
  • In general, you cannot end the tenancy before the end of the term unless:
  1. The landlord has breached his obligations under it
  2. You are exercising a break clause
  3. You have got someone to replace you
  4. You and the landlord both agree to end it

A periodic tenancy agreement does not specify a fixed length of time. The period of the tenancy may be weekly or monthly, depending on how often the rent is due. Periodic tenancy agreements may or may not be in writing.

In both cases, you must always get a valid written notice of termination and there are detailed rules about how much notice you must be given, depending on the length of the tenancy.

Tenants Rights

Ireland has strong tenant protection laws, and it’s important to be aware of your rights.

As a tenant you are entitled to: 

  • Exclusive enjoyment of your home. If noise from other tenants or neighbours is disturbing you, ask them to stop and also inform your landlord. If this does not work, you can make a formal complaint.
  • Certain minimum standards of accommodation
  • A rent book
  • Contact the landlord or their agent at any reasonable time, provided you have appropriate contact information for them (telephone numbers, email addresses, postal addresses, etc.)
  • Give your landlord prior permission to enter your house or room.  If the landlord needs to carry out repairs or inspect the premises, it should be by prior arrangement, except in an emergency
  • Reimbursement for any repairs that you carry out that are the landlord’s responsibility
  • Have visitors to stay overnight or for short periods unless specifically forbidden in your tenancy agreement. You must tell your landlord if you have an extra person moving in
  • A certain amount of notice of the termination of your tenancy
  • 90 days’ notice if your landlord wants to review the rent, and there are rules about how often they can do this.
About the author

Carlotta Cutrale

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