A number of tenant-friendly changes have been made to legislation governing residential tenancies by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015. These include measures aimed at increasing tenant confidence and rent certainty. The measures are being introduced in phases. The most notable changes are summarised below.

Changes in place since 4 December 2015

Rent Review

Restricting rent reviews to not more often than once in any 24 month period for an interim period of 4 years and providing that a landlord give 90 days notice before the increase is due to take effect.

Termination Notice

Increasing the notice required for termination for longer tenancies (e.g. for tenancies of 5 years or more, landlords are required to give between 140 and 224 days notice, up from a maximum of 112 days for tenancies of 4 years or more).

Changes in place since 9 May 2016

Additional Termination Proofs

On terminating certain tenancies for one of the six valid reasons set out in the legislation, there are now additional landlord requirements. Statements/statutory declarations with specific content and accompanying evidence will, where appropriate, be required. Careful consideration of these additional requirements will be needed when serving any such notice of termination. In a case earlier this year, before commencement of the stricter requirements, a court held that a landlord's notice was invalid as it did not say that the landlord intended to sell the property within 3 months of termination. It simply stated that the landlord intended to sell the property.

Rent Review Notice

The notice the landlord serves on the tenant must be in the prescribed form. Some of the notable additional content includes:

  • Details of the dispute resolution procedures available
  • A statement that in the landlord's opinion the new rent is not greater than the market rent having regard to the other terms of the tenancy and lettings of dwellings of a similar size, type and character and is situate in a comparable area
  • Details of the rent payable in respect of three comparable dwellings

Pending Changes

The most notable section yet to be implemented relates to security deposits. Once commenced, as an additional administrative step, landlords will be required to transmit tenant security deposits to the Residential Tenancies Board (formerly called the Private Residential Tenancies Board) and to comply with procedural rules regarding the return of the deposit. There are also pending changes to the notification to the RTB following rent review which will need to be signed by both landlord and tenant.