My landlord won’t fix the damp. Can I withhold rent?

Property Clinic: I have asked him repeatedly by phone and text but have had no luck

It would be best to formally notify your landlord in writing, setting out all the issues and highlighting the urgency of having these resolved.

It would be best to formally notify your landlord in writing, setting out all the issues and highlighting the urgency of having these resolved.

 

I am currently living in a private rented property in Dublin with young professionals. There are a number of maintenance issues with the property, such as a considerable damp problem in my bedroom, temperamental shower and lots of small but annoying issues that could be easily addressed. I have asked the landlord repeatedly by phone and text to arrange repair but have had no luck so far and he almost never visits the property. I was thinking of withholding the rent, but I don’t want to risk losing the property especially in the current climate. What are the best actions I can take now from a legal perspective?

Your landlord should maintain the property in a good state of repair, ensuring that it is safe and healthy to live in, writes William O’Connor.

Generally, a landlord is responsible for repairs due to normal wear and tear. If the damage goes beyond normal wear and tear, the tenant may be responsible.

Although you have already communicated the maintenance issues to your landlord by phone and text, given there are a number of issues it would be best to write a formal notification by letter to your landlord setting out all the issues and highlight the urgency of having these resolved.

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rented properties comply with certain minimum physical standards. Local authorities are responsible for enforcement

In the notification letter you should state a specified period in which the issue shall be resolved failing which you will report the matter to your Local Authority and to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). You should retain a copy of all letters you send.

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rented properties comply with certain minimum physical standards. Local authorities are responsible for enforcement. Failure to comply with the minimum standards may result in penalties and prosecution.

If you do not receive a satisfactory response from your landlord within a reasonable time you ought to report the matter to your local authority furnishing it with a copy of your notification letter.

A landlord is required to refund to a tenant the cost of essential repairs to a property which are carried out with consent and have been communicated to the landlord. You should not withhold the rent as this could put your tenancy at risk.

William O’Connor is a solicitor at P O’Connor & Son, in Swinford, Co Mayo

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