Property Clinic

Upgrades to rental homes and property in wills

Q We have been renting a property for the past four years and have asked our landlord to paint the apartment as it looks a bit scruffy. Following an inspection he told us that in his opinion the apartment doesn’t need to be painted, but if we want it done we are welcome to do it ourselves once we do a good job.

Do we have any say in this? It clearly hasn’t been painted in at least five or six years. I know we could always move out at the end of the year when the lease is up. If we do, is it likely he will have to paint in any case in preparation for new tenants? But we would like to stay and have been excellent tenants.

Could you please advise if there is anything we can do to change his mind?

A There is no legal basis for a landlord to paint or repaint a property under any timescale, however under the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Act 2008 and amended in 2009, the property must meet a minimum standard. See for further information.


Your interest in the property and its appearance is to be commended, and it is unfortunate that your landlord has responded in the way he has. You are right in your feeling that if you leave he may have to repaint the property anyway. So what can you do?

Yes you can leave at the end of your tenancy but I gather this is not your preferred route of action. You have asked him to do it and he has refused but is willing for you to do it at your own expense. I would not recommend this as if anything should go wrong or if you choose colours which he is not happy with he could try to get you to paint it again once you leave. It is best if he paints the property and perhaps you agree on colours, etc.

It is worth trying to appeal to his sense of duty again and explain to him how this benefits him in the long run. You could share the cost if you felt that was appropriate. If all this fails and you feel strongly enough about it, and that the landlord is falling short on his responsibility, you could take a case to the Private Residential Tenancies Board ( The facts provided by you are not detailed so I would suggest this route of action only if the condition of the property was badly affected. It can be a long process and could deeply damage the relationship between with you and your landlord.

Finally, it may be the case that your landlord hasn’t got the money to repaint the property due to demands on his finances from mortgage payments or service charges or taxes etc so please also bear this in mind. A fair negotiated solution which gives you a nicer home and gives the landlord a happy and content tenant would be the best solution for all.

Fergal Hopkins is a member of the residential property professional group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

Q I am 86 years old and own a small cottage valued at €150,000. I would like to leave it to my son for his day, and then to my three daughters. He is 50 years old, single, unemployed and does not live with me.

How do I state my will? What about probate? What name will it be in? What expenses will there be? etc. What if he marries?

A The safest thing is to instruct a solicitor to draft and help you sign your will once he has taken your instructions and given you advice. That is the best way to ensure your will works legally and has been properly signed and witnessed so that it is valid.

To give effect to your wishes your solicitor will probably suggest that you leave your son your house for his lifetime and that after his death your daughters inherit it.

A grant of probate would need to be taken out following your death to legally prove your will and to allow your named executors ensure things are held by them and dealt with in accordance with your will.

The expenses involved would be the fees to a solicitor for drafting your will, and subsequently fees for extracting a Grant of Probate and acting in the administration of your estate after your death.

If your son ever married (or entered into a civil partnership) his wife (or civil partner) would not inherit the house after his death because your son would have an entitlement only for his life.

Unless your will is very carefully drafted it might be possible for your son, after your death, to force a sale of the house during his lifetime. However even if your will allowed for that to happen and the house were sold, your son would be entitled only to the interest earned on the net sale price during his lifetime. So in any event it is unlikely the house would be sold.

The house, or capital proceeds would on your son’s death pass equally to your daughters.

The share of any daughter then deceased who left issue would pass in accordance with that daughter’s estate, unless you say otherwise in your will.

Patrick Gaffney is a solicitor in the private-client department of WhitneyMoore;

Q My daughter is starting college in Dublin in the next few weeks and we are looking for accommodation for her. Could you please give us some advice and tips on where to start looking, what our budget range should be and anything else we need to know?

A My advice is to do your research, as there are a number of things to consider when renting a property. Proximity to the university will be important, as will the type of property and access to transport links. Your options will largely depend on your available budget and whether your daughter wishes to share a property with others or rent alone.

If you haven’t done so already it would be worth contacting the university your daughter will be attending about the availability of campus accommodation.

The next option would be the private rental market. House shares are often listed on college notice boards, both online and at the campus, and this would be a good place to start. Alternatively, a number of property websites list individual rooms to rent in properties. The rent can vary but would most likely be in the range of €350 to €550 per month, depending on the location and condition of the property. If your daughter wishes to rent by herself, again the property portals will help. The monthly rental range for a bedsit to a one-bed apartment in Dublin is somewhere between €500-€1,200, and this will vary considerably based on the location and condition of the property.

You should note that your daughter will be asked to sign a lease contract and will be expected to pay a deposit and first month’s rent up front. She will also have to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board, and usually the landlord or their agent will arrange this.

Rowena Quinn is a member of the SCSI;

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This column is a readers' service. Advice given is general and individual
advice should always be sought