The lift in my apartment building has been out of order for months. Can I end my lease?

Property Clinic: I live on the top floor with a young child. I have contacted my estate agent multiple times but have no answers on when it will be fixed

The lift in my apartment has been out of service since I moved in over four months ago. I wasn’t aware it wasn’t working until the day I moved in. I have contacted my estate agent multiple times and have gotten no answers on when it will be fixed. As I am on the top floor with a young child, can I end my lease early and move?

This cannot be easy for you and your young child. Mechanical and electrical companies have experienced delays in sourcing parts due to supply chain disruption caused by Covid-19. However, the passing of four months most likely indicates the owners’ management company, or OMC, has funding issues, writes Paul Huberman.

A lease is a contract binding you and your landlord stating the responsibilities and rights of both parties in relation to the rented property. A lease would not extend to property outside of your landlord’s reasonable control and ownership such as the common areas of the building. An exception to this is assigned and unassigned parking facilities, communal waste facilities or leisure facilities. Your lease would state what is included yet access may be subject to your landlord paying all their service charges due. Unfortunately, a landlord is not required to prove that they are not in arrears to the OMC when letting their property nor is it standard practice to confirm this to tenants.

The lift is an issue that the OMC must address for your landlord. It may be the case that the landlord is unaware of the matter and should liaise with the OMC to have it resolved. An issue with the lift in the building would not constitute a breach of the lease between you and your landlord and as such would not be grounds to terminate the lease early. You should notify your landlord in writing of the issue and give them the opportunity to resolve the matter. This will also generate a formal record of the issue. In the unlikely event that you refer the matter to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), the landlord should have evidence of making efforts with the OMC to have the lift repaired. This could be proven by way of email or letter to the OMC or their agent notifying them of the damaged lift and requesting that it be repaired. The RTB does not have the power to direct the OMC to repair the lift.


The RTB is an excellent source of information for tenants. Before you take action I’d recommend you review its website and inform yourself of your rights and obligations.

Paul Huberman is a chartered property and facilities manager, and a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI)