Dealing with Arrears

  1. It is a common phenomenon for a tenant in arrears to suddenly report problems. Tenants in arrears will find problems that they should have reported a long time ago to use as a distraction from their rent arrears. The worst type of tenant will even invent problems.
  2. It is common for tenants in financial trouble to become more aggressive and to avoid contact.
  3. It is not a landlord’s responsibility to pay for someone else’s lifestyle or circumstances. Please see the post on rent increases.

What to do when tenants are in arrears and ignore your contact

  1. Stop trying to contact them and just follow the law. Irish legislation / PRTB is so disgracefully poor that landlords are always at severe risk of being ripped off by the worst type of tenant. Don’t wait to begin the process, this plays into the hands of the worst type of tenant. Unfortunately for good tenants and good landlords, Irish legislation enables the worst type of tenant to steal from landlords, with the knock-on affect of driving rents up for everyone else. A good tenant will never ignore your contact (assuming you are a good landlord).
  2. The minute a tenant is late on their rent, begin the proper process. Give the initial reasonable warning (we send an email saying they have 1 business day to clear the arrears). This part has been designed to catch out landlords and unreasonably protect tenants. It’s not publicised very well and without this initial notice, any further notices are invalid.
  3. After the initial notice give the second notice, a 14 day notice to clear the arrears. There is no formal template available from the PRTB or Threshold so get one from a landlord association like the IPOA. This is where a management company comes in handy. Make sure to hand deliver this notice.
  4. After the 1 business day and the 14 day notice, Irish legislation requires that landlords bear the cost of a further 28 days notice for a tenant to move out. Please see my previous post on taking a deposit equal to 2 month’s rent. Make sure to use the precise wording and hand deliver this notice.
  5. Begin a PRTB dispute. Unfortunately if the tenant has ignored the notices the PRTB is such a disgrace that you could be waiting over a year for a proper eviction. See the article about a tenant being given another 28 days after over-holding for 1 year (Irish Times 21st Jan 2014):…ties-1.1663351
  6. Be careful who you vote for!

Most landlords in Ireland these days are ordinary Irish people. They could be your neighbour or a relative and by the time the worst type of tenant moves out, the landlord could have defaulted on their mortgage and lost their investment etc. The irony is that the legislation protects tenants but can put landlords at risk of going homeless.