The Irish Government has this morning published the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2024 (the Bill), which is the draft legislation intended to limit leases and licences of student-specific accommodation to 41 weeks.

As reported on in a previous post, the Bill has come about due to concerns over students being required to take year-long leases / licences, with the Government taking the view that such long-term commitments are neither affordable nor practical for the majority of students.

The Government’s press release in respect of the publication of the Bill can be found here.

Key provisions

The draft Bill is a very short piece of amending legislation. Its provisions relate to student-specific accommodation as defined in section 3(1A) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (there have been no amendments to that definition). The Bill provides that:

  • A landlord / licensor cannot seek or accept an advance rental payment of more than one month’s rent unless the landlord / licensor is also the party to which the student is paying tuition fees – in other words, only educational institutions will be in a position to accept an advance payment of more than one month’s rent, even where the student is prepared to pay more. (As a related aside, the arrangements in respect of deposits have not changed – providers can still require the payment of a deposit equating to no more than one-month’s rent.)
  • Leases / licences cannot be more than 41 weeks in duration – as the explanatory memorandum published with the bill says, the legislation is intended to work such that students cannot be “forced to pay for student specific accommodation during the summer months”. However, there is provision for arrangements of a longer duration to be entered into at the request of the student.
  • A student can now serve a 28-day notice of termination at any time during the period from 1 May to 1 October in a given year without the need for the landlord / licensor to have breached any tenancy obligations.
  • Residential Tenancy Board sanctions will apply to a landlord / licensor who demonstrates “improper conduct” by breaching the 41 week cap.

Next steps

The legislation is still in draft form and will need to go through the usual legislative process before it becomes law. However, the Government has indicated that it intends to accelerate that process to introduce these provisions before the end of the current Oireachtas term, which is currently scheduled for no later than 15 July. The legislation will apply to all leases / licences entered into after its commencement.

We will be tracking the legislation through the Oireachtas and will provide further updates in due course. For more information in the meantime, please contact Aoife Smyth, Knowledge Consultant, or any member of ALG’s Real Estate team.