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Overview: For tenants

You may be finding it hard to keep up with your rent. If you are in this situation, there are several sources of information, advice and help.

Where to get advice and help

Threshold provides an independent advisory and advocacy service, which is free and confidential. You can contact Threshold if you are having problems with your landlord.

Threshold's Tenancy Protection Service for private tenants whose tenancy is at risk is available in:

  • Dublin, Kildare, Meath and Wicklow
  • The Cork city area
  • Galway, Mayo and Roscommon

This service can refer tenants to the Department of Social Protection for review of their Rent Supplement where appropriate: Freefone 1800 454 454.

MABS, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service, provides information and advice on dealing with rent arrears as well as other forms of problem debt. The MABS helpline 0761 07 2000 is open from 9am to 8pm, Monday to Friday. MABS also operates a nationwide network of centres, staffed by specialist money advisers, as well as an email service

You can also contact your local Citizens Information Centre for face-to face information and advice or phone the Citizens Information Phone Service on Lo-call 0761 07 4000, Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm.

For people renting privately

Rent Supplement is a payment from the Department of Social Protection for people living in private rented accommodation who cannot afford to pay the full rent themselves. In general, if your only income is a social welfare payment, you will qualify for a Rent Supplement. However, if you or your partner is in full-time employment (30 hours a week or more) you will not qualify for this payment.

If you are getting Rent Supplement and you are at risk of losing your home due to a proposed rent increase, there is support available. Contact your local office that administers the Supplementary Welfare Allowance Scheme, which includes Rent Supplement, as soon as possible. If you are living in the Dublin area, the Cork city area, Galway, Mayo or Roscommon , you can contact the Tenancy Protection Service, which is run by Threshold (see above).

The Housing Assistance Payment (HAP), which is being introduced at present, will eventually replace long-term Rent Supplement. People who are getting HAP may take up full-time employment, subject to the conditions of the HAP scheme.

Most private tenants and housing association tenants have specific rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended (pdf). One of the main rights under this Act is security of tenure. However, if you are renting a room that is part of your landlord's home or living in student accommodation let by a recognised educational institution, you are not covered by this legislation.

Read more about the rights and obligations of tenants and of landlords.

If you are paying tax on your income, you may be entitled to claim tax relief on your rent - but only if you were already renting on 7 December 2010.

For social housing tenants

People who are renting from a local authority pay what is called a differential rent, which is calculated on the basis of ability to pay. If your income is reduced, you should immediately ask your local authority to adjust your rent downwards.

Housing associations also take your income into account when calculating your rent. You should contact your landlord about reducing your rent if you are a tenant of a housing association or co-operative and your income has been reduced.

If you find that you are falling into arrears with your rent, contact your landlord straight away.

Losing your home

Whether you are renting from a private landlord, a local authority or a housing association, they can evict you if you fall behind with the rent, provided they follow the correct procedure. This is usually their very last resort. Private landlords and housing associations must comply with the rules set down in the residential tenancies legislation, which include giving proper notice. Local authorities have different procedures. Here we describe what to do if you lose your home.

Last edited: 29/07/2016