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Landlord just renovated the kitchen, told us the rent is going up next year.

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  • 18-10-2019 7:38pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭


    I understand that rent can be increased if money has been pumped into the house via renovation. And I understand that people need to make money. And my landlord is also sound. Just trying to make sure I don't get ripped off here.

    Is there a "renovaton" line that landlords need to cross before they can increase the rent? And how much can they increase it by?

    The landlord has replaced the cabinets in the kitchen with run of the mill cheap cabinets. They're obviously new and shiny compared to the old ones, but they're not fancy, probably bottom of the range. If they were in a catalogue they'd probably be on the "For rentals" page if that exists.

    He also put in a new washing machine and dryer, even though the previous ones were working perfectly. There was no need to replace them and I actually emailed him "there's no need to replace those machines save yourself a bit of cash". In fact the previous machines worked better, but that's a different story. (Two warrantly callouts since they were installed two weeks ago)

    Anyway the rest of the house is untouched. Still have 10 year old carpets in the other rooms and paint is in dire need of touching up. He got a painter in to do the kitchen as part of the upgrade but the rest of the house has 10 years worth of handprints all over it.

    Basically my question is: now that he's 'renovated' the house, how much is he legally allowed to increase the rent? He's a nice landlord and I would accept a 20%-ish increase. But if it turns out to be a 100% increase or something outrageous like what I've been reading about, then I just need to know what to say to him.

    Btw we're 5 mins walk from cork city centre.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 846 ✭✭✭April 73


    Are you in a rent pressure zone?
    That isn’t enough to raise the rent by any more than what is allowed in RPZs.
    Has he said how much he intends to raise it by?


  • Registered Users Posts: 7,853 ✭✭✭Grumpypants




  • Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭JackieChang


    April 73 wrote: »
    Are you in a rent pressure zone?
    That isn’t enough to raise the rent by any more than what is allowed in RPZs.
    Has he said how much he intends to raise it by?


    Yes I'm in a rent pressure zone, Cork City. According to this site anyway: https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/rent-pressure-zones/

    How much renovation do you need to nullify the rent pressure zone rules?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭JackieChang




    Ok, replacing the kithcen cabinets doesn't meet any of those requirements. Hopefully he's plannng on increasing the rent just a little bit. We do have a good deal and would go over 4%. Just not an astronomical figure.

    For the lazy folk:

    A 'substantial change' in the nature of the accommodation has been defined in the legislation and will only be deemed to have taken place where the below criteria is met:

    “the works carried out to the dwelling concerned -

    (i) consist of a permanent extension to the dwelling that increases the floor area (within the meaning of Article 6 of the Building Regulations 1997 (S.I. No. 497 of 1997)) of the dwelling by an amount equal to not less than 25% of the floor area (within such meaning) of the dwelling as it stood immediately before the commencement of those works,

    or

    (ii) in the case of a dwelling to which the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 243 of 2012) apply, result in the BER (within the meaning of those Regulations) being improved by not less than 7 building energy ratings,

    or any 3 or more of the following:

    1. the internal layout of the dwelling being permanently altered;

    2. the dwelling being adapted to provide for access and use by a person with a disability, within the meaning of the Disability Act 2005;

    3. a permanent increase in the number of rooms in a dwelling;

    4. in the case of a dwelling to which the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 243 of 2012) apply and that has a BER of D1 or lower, the BER (within the meaning of those Regulations) being improved by not less than 3 building energy ratings;

    or

    5. in the case of a dwelling to which the European Union (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (S.I. No. 243 of 2012) apply and that has a BER of C3 of higher, the BER (within the meaning of those Regulations) being improved by not less than 2 building energy ratings.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,875 ✭✭✭Edgware


    4%. Hard to see how higher could be justified. These are not substantial improvements


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭dennyk


    There's zero chance that installing new cabinets and appliances alone would allow an RPZ exemption. Even if he also painted and put in new carpets, that would not qualify. Under the new guidelines, there would have to be a permanent change to the internal layout, an expansion of floorspace (e.g. by adding an extension or finishing an unfinished attic/basement/garage/etc.), and/or a significant increase in the BER rating to qualify for an exemption.

    That said, if it has been a long time since he's increased the rent, he may be able to increase it by a lot more than 4% this time; the limit is prorated from the time of the most recent rent review or the most recent time the rent was otherwise set (e.g. at the beginning of the current tenancy) if there have been no subsequent rent reviews. You can use this calculator to determine the allowable rent increase in your situation:

    https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/calculator/rpz


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭The_Conductor


    When was the rent last increased? Aka- if it was over a year ago- the rent increase could be a multiple of 4%'s on a pro-rata basis. Has any rent review happened up to now? When did the tenancy commence?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭JackieChang


    When was the rent last increased? Aka- if it was over a year ago- the rent increase could be a multiple of 4%'s on a pro-rata basis. Has any rent review happened up to now? When did the tenancy commence?

    I've been in the house for about 4 years. Rent has never increased.

    We all have separate contracts. Most recent Housemate moved in about 5 months ago.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭The_Conductor


    I've been in the house for about 4 years. Rent has never increased.

    We all have separate contracts. Most recent Housemate moved in about 5 months ago.

    Slightly murky unfortunately.
    What matters here in this instance would appear to be when did the last rent review take place.
    At very least it would seem that a 16% increase may possibly be warranted (possibly even higher)- however, if people were rolling over leases and assigning leases to new people- it could potentially be a lot higher.

    Did you pay your deposit to someone who was leaving (which would infer a lease being reassigned) or to the landlord directly?

    Its not as straight forward as saying the rent can only be increased by 4%- there are several complicating factors in your situation.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭JackieChang


    Slightly murky unfortunately.
    What matters here in this instance would appear to be when did the last rent review take place.
    At very least it would seem that a 16% increase may possibly be warranted (possibly even higher)- however, if people were rolling over leases and assigning leases to new people- it could potentially be a lot higher.

    Did you pay your deposit to someone who was leaving (which would infer a lease being reassigned) or to the landlord directly?

    Its not as straight forward as saying the rent can only be increased by 4%- there are several complicating factors in your situation.

    There has never been a rent review. I paid my deposit to the landlord, same as everybody. There's 4 of us in the house, but about 6 people have lived there over the years moving in and out. All giving the deposit to the landlord and signing a contract. Maybe a bit messy, but I thought this was normal. At least it's the same for everyone I know.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 4,461 ✭✭✭FishOnABike


    I would think the last time each person has signed a contract with the landlord would count as the last time their rent was reviewed.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭The_Conductor


    Ok- so there hasn't been a rent review- ever, and the property has been let for x number of years, with people reassigning leases as they come and go.
    Bad news is its practically impossible to try and suggest what the rent review could be- without knowing when the head lease commenced.
    Talk to the landlord and see what the proposed increases is- and ensure you're given appropriate notice of the increase.
    As for the increase itself- it has to be accompanied by examples from locally to support its level- he can't simply pull it out of thin air.


  • Registered Users Posts: 14,498 ✭✭✭✭Dav010


    Ok- so there hasn't been a rent review- ever, and the property has been let for x number of years, with people reassigning leases as they come and go.
    Bad news is its practically impossible to try and suggest what the rent review could be- without knowing when the head lease commenced.
    Talk to the landlord and see what the proposed increases is- and ensure you're given appropriate notice of the increase.
    As for the increase itself- it has to be accompanied by examples from locally to support its level- he can't simply pull it out of thin air.

    I thought supporting examples of similar properties only applied in non RPZ’s, and that in RPZ’s the LL was entitled to increase to full 4% per year or more using the calculations if it hasn’t been increased for a few years. There is something new I learned today.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭The_Conductor


    Dav010 wrote: »
    There is something new I learned today.

    New to me too- I thought it applied across the board- aka you couldn't increase above market rates in an RPZ, irrespective of the 4% set down in legislation, unless you could show it was consistent with market rates. I did not think the 4% was a foregone conclusion (though it may as well be with the REITs setting top rate rents on all of their units).

    I've learnt something new too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭dennyk


    The "market rent" restriction and the corresponding requirement to provide three examples of comparable properties apply in RPZs as well. In theory, though, if an RPZ is justified it would be because market rates were increasing by more than 7% annually on average in the designated area, so it should be virtually impossible to outpace the market in an RPZ even with the maximum allowable annual rent increase. Landlords must still include those comparable properties in their rent review notice, though, or else the notice is invalid.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭JackieChang


    So hypothetically speaking, if I'm paying 400 per month currently, and every other neighbor is paying 700 per month for a room. Can he increase it to 700? I'm in Cork city so market rates are not quite Dublin level but still approaching a ridiculous stage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,699 ✭✭✭dennyk


    So hypothetically speaking, if I'm paying 400 per month currently, and every other neighbor is paying 700 per month for a room. Can he increase it to 700? I'm in Cork city so market rates are not quite Dublin level but still approaching a ridiculous stage.

    Cork City is in an RPZ, so if this is a standard tenancy, your landlord would be restricted to the RPZ increase limits of 4% per year from the time the rent was last set or reviewed. The "market rent" limit just means that if you were already paying, say, €800 and all comparable properties available on the market were less than, say, €700, the landlord wouldn't be able to increase your rent at all (in theory, anyway).

    That said, you mention "room"; are you renting a room in a house where your landlord also lives? If so, you are a licensee, not a tenant, and the RPZ restrictions (and most of the rights provided by the RTA) don't apply; he can raise your rent at any time, or kick you out at any time without needing a reason. If you are renting an individual room in a house that your landlord doesn't live in, it's more of a grey area; such arrangements can sometimes be licensee arrangements and can sometimes be tenancies, depending on the specific details of the arrangement. It may still be considered a license arrangement if the renter is:
    ...occupying accommodation in which the owner is not resident 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 and/or can move around or change the occupants...


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,759 ✭✭✭C3PO


    As per the above - if you are only renting a room from the owner (who lives in the house) then he is entitled to raise the rent as he sees fit. You are a “licensee” and not a tenant.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,494 ✭✭✭JackieChang


    He doesn't live in the house. He doesn't choose occupants. I've chosen them all over the years. I think he has to give 24hrs notice to come in the house, need to check my contract.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,285 Mod ✭✭✭✭The_Conductor


    He doesn't live in the house. He doesn't choose occupants. I've chosen them all over the years. I think he has to give 24hrs notice to come in the house, need to check my contract.

    If he was choosing the tenants you might argue that it was a new lease for each tenant on the commencement of their residency- however, in the case where a new tenant is replacing someone who leaves- and its a defacto reassignment of the lease- its a lot harder to argue this point.

    Honestly- its nigh impossible to ascertain when the rent was last reviewed, unless the rent increase is excessive, I'd suggest drawing a line in the sand, agreeing that it establishes a rent review date, and taking it from there.

    You could dispute any increase- however, in the circumstances, its difficult to say that you'd win a dispute- you might have a stay of execution, but that would probably be the extent of it.

    For now- keep your powder dry- wait and see what the proposed increase is- and whether its accompanied by the requisite notices etc.


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