I have a problem getting my landlord to return my deposit at the end of my tenancy. What can I do?
The main legislation governing the rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in private rented accommodation is set down in the Landlord and Tenants Act, 1967-1994 and the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. In general, a landlord may withhold a deposit or a part of deposit only in the following circumstances:
- if a tenant has not given proper notice when leaving
- if a tenant has left with outstanding bills or
- if a tenant has caused damage beyond normal ‘wear and tear’.
If your landlord has a valid reason for keeping part of deposit the rest of it should be returned. The landlord may not, for example, withhold your deposit because you have had noisy parties. However noisy parties can get you evicted, with proper notice, if they are forbidden by your lease or cause disruption and inconvenience to your neighbours. If you didn’t damage the property and your bills are paid, the landlord cannot keep your deposit unfairly. If he refuses to give your money back, you can ask him about the reason of his decision or for a breakdown of the costs incurred. You can also negotiate with him; if this doesn’t work you should contact the Private Residential Tenancies Board for advice on how to proceed.
I’m moving to Dublin in a few months to attend university and I will need to rent an apartment. How can I find a place to rent?
There are a lot of ways to find a place to rent, such as local newspapers or magazines, shop windows or notice boards. There are also several useful websites. Two of the most popular are Daft.ie and MyHome.ie. Letting and accommodation agencies may also be useful. Ask also whether your college has halls of residence in which you can live. Some colleges and universities have student accommodation but it can be difficult to get a place because they are very popular.
I’ve decided it’s time to leave my parents and live on my own. What should I know before I rent a flat?
First, look around the area where you’ve decided to rent. Think about your safety and check if there are any streets you should avoid. Make sure that public transport is convenient, or if you have a car, make sure there is parking nearby. You should also check the condition of the property, and whether any repairs are needed. If so, ask whether the landlord will carry out these repairs before you move in. Remember to ask about heating, security and whether furniture is provided, as well as access to facilities such as washing machine, tumble dryer, phone or internet. It is very important to remember that your rent is not your total cost. You will also have to pay a deposit and utility bills for services such as electricity and phone. Check with the landlord how often rent is due, what the deposit involves and when you’ll get it back. Make sure you receive a rent book so that you can claim tax relief on any rent you pay (contact the Private Residential Tenancies Board). You may also want to ask about an agreement explaining your rights and responsibilities, confirming how much notice you have to give before you leave and whether you can get out of the tenancy early without losing your deposit. Remember that good preparation is the key to avoiding problems.