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Can my landlord increase the rent if my partner moves in?

Property Clinic: We would like to move into my apartment together as it would be hard to find another property in the city

I have been renting a one-bedroom apartment on my own for 18 months. During this time I’ve met a partner and we would like to move in together. Ideally, we would like to move into my apartment as it would be hard to find another property to rent in the city. Do I need to notify my landlord? Is it possible that the landlord would increase the rent?

The situation you describe arises on a regular basis. The first thing to note is that since you have been in continuous occupation of the property in question for 18 months, you have established security of tenure under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and all further amendment Acts thereafter, writes Marcus O’Connor.

In fact, over the past number of years there have been many changes to the original Act and during the summer even further changes were made to the legislation. These amendments not only reinforced the security of tenure in place for tenants, it also extended the notice periods a landlord needs to give when they want to end a tenancy under section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004-2019.

However, the good news is that since you are living in your apartment for more than six months, a Part 4 tenancy is now running in parallel with that legislation, which means you can stay in the property for a further 5½ years. Furthermore, the landlord may not end your tenancy except for limited reasons.

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With regard to wanting to move your partner into the apartment – assuming it is big enough for two people – you have nothing to worry about if you carry out the following:

First, you must notify your landlord that you would like your partner to live with you and join the tenancy before they move in.

Problems arise when tenants move individuals into a property without notifying the landlord as this would be a breach of the tenancy-and-lease agreement in place. In such a situation the landlord would be entitled to end the tenancy due to the breach but only after a 28-day warning letter to rectify the breach had been ignored.

Once you have communicated your request for your partner to move in, you should provide the landlord with a comprehensive list of documentation. This will allow a similar formal vetting procedure to take place on your partner as was done with you before you moved into the property.

If that is all in order, your landlord should not unreasonably withhold consent to let your partner join you in the property. Remember, this is not a request to replace a tenant already living in the property so your partner does not inherit any security of tenure, but is starting afresh. I mention this point to highlight that if the landlord wanted to end the tenancy in future, it would have implications on the notice period they would have to give.

You should have nothing to worry about regarding your concern about the landlord increasing the rent because there are strict rules and legislation on how and when a landlord may increase the rent on a property that is in a rental pressure zone (RPZ). Some of these rules include a 90-day notice of rent review, offering comparable rents and applying the appropriate RPZ calculations. If your property is not in an RPZ, the landlord may choose to increase the rent because they believe there may be more natural wear and tear on the property with two people living in it.

Finally, if you don’t have a rental agreement, it would be down to the landlord or the landlord’s agent’s discretion to allow your partner to move into the apartment and gain their own security of tenure after six months.

However, best practice would be to draft a new lease agreement, noting you and your partner’s names on it. In summary, if you communicate well with your landlord, your partner should be able to move into the property with no immediate monthly rent increase and without affecting your security of tenure.

Marcus O’Connor is a chartered valuation surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland