The tenant I have sublet a room from wants to throw me out. Can he do this?
Property Clinic: Under Covid-19 emergency legislation, evictions are not permitted
After six months, licensees may seek the landlord’s permission to become a tenant
I rent a room from a person who has signed a contract with the owner, and I’ve lived there for almost one year. I pay for this room and bills. Now this person wants to throw me out of the house because he wants to bring in a friend from Poland. Please can you advise?
Firstly, I sympathise with your situation. But I believe there are some potential solutions to your problem. There are four categories of licences involving shared accommodation listed on the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) website. These are:
1 People staying in hotels, guesthouses, hostels, etc,
2 People sharing a house/apartment with the owner often under the Rent a Room scheme
3 People occupying accommodation under a formal licence arrangement with the owner where the occupants are not entitled to its exclusive use and the owner has continuing access to the accommodation
4 People staying in rented accommodation at the invitation of the tenant.
Based on the information you have provided it appears as if you are occupying your room under licence from a tenant, which is category 4.
The provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 do not normally apply to the first three categories. However, the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (Covid-19) Act 2020 was signed into law on March 27th, and one of its provisions is that no one can be made to leave their accommodation for the duration of the emergency period. This period is currently defined as the three months after March 28th, although this may be extended by the Government.
In addition, the RTB also states that the provisions of this emergency legislation include some of the categories listed above. On the Residential Tenancies Board’s website, there is information about this legislation, and it is worth contacting the RTB directly to establish if your specific situation meets the new criteria.
Under the 2004 Act, licensees in private rented accommodation are not tenants because there has been no tenancy entered into by them with the landlord. Based on the information provided, it appears that the person you rent the room from is a tenant and has been renting for more than six months and as a result, it is a Part 4 tenancy as outlined by the RTB.
As a result, this entitles you to ask the landlord to be allowed to become a tenant, which gives you certain protections under the Act, including protection from eviction. The landlord may not unreasonably refuse such a request and must give his/her acceptance in writing. If you are unreasonably refused you can engage with the RTB and make a complaint to that effect. You can contact the RTB directly via their website, rtb.ie.
Enda McGuane is a chartered planning and development surveyor and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland