This took a long to emerge: http://www.prtb.ie/DownloadDocs/Termina
Basically it clears up a few things:
1. You do work your way onto a Part 4 tenancy while under a lease. So after 6 months of a fixed term lease you have the Part 4 tenancy, but only to the extent it benefits you. Should the lease expire and no new one be signed then you are a Part 4 tenant and the procedure for notice etc is as outlined.
2. Fixed Term tenancies don’t necessarily have to be in writing. Verbal or implied fixed terms can exist.
3. “A landlord can only terminate a fixed term tenancy where there the tenant has been in breach of his or her obligations
.” i.e. They cannot terminate the fixed term lease because they want their daughter to move in, or because they want to sell.
4. “Similarly, a tenant can only terminate a fixed term tenancy where there the landlord has been in breach of his or her obligations. In addition however, where the landlord has refused consent to an assignment or sub-let, the tenant can also terminate the tenancy, in accordance with Section 186.
As a tenant you are bound to the fixed term much like the landlord is. You must fulfil it yourself or else find someone else who will. “Section 58(3) of the Act provides that a landlord or tenant may not terminate a fixed term tenancy, unless there has been breach of obligations by the landlord or tenant
Further on: “a landlord of a fixed term tenancy cannot rely on the provisions of Section 34 (e.g. the landlord wants to sell his house) to terminate the fixed term tenancy and similarly a tenant of a fixed term tenancy cannot simply terminate that fixed term tenancy, by giving the requisite notice
5. LL and Tenant are free to agree terms more “beneficial” to the tenant in terms of security of tenure, but not less beneficial. So you can agree a lease of two years. You cannot agree on any lease that would whittle away your rights as a tenant under Part 4.
6. A tenant must serve notice of their intention to stay in the property ahead of a lease’s expiration. There is no mention of how this should be communicated, but I would recommend written notice (email may be ideal). “If a tenant wishes to remain in occupation after the fixed term, the tenant must notify the landlord of his or her intention. This must be done not later than one month before the expiry of the fixed term tenancy nor any sooner than three months before it expires
.” Unless a new lease is signed you remain on under Part 4, with all the consequences that entails.
7. There is an interesting section relating to Break Clauses. It would appear that a break clause can be exercised by a tenant but not by a landlord, as the Part 4 rights (assuming the tenant has been in occupation for 6 months) offer security above the lease if needed. It’s a little confusing, but my reading of the passage is that a landlord cannot avail of the break clause because the tenant has security of tenure in accordance with Part 4.
It is not immediately apparent what happens if the LL wants to make use of the break clause on one of the grounds outlined in Section 34, but it seems to suggest the tenant can avail of their Part 4 rights while the landlord cannot make use of them until the tenancy has passed from its fixed term status.