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What can I do if my housemate wants to throw me out of our rented accomodation to replace me with someone else?

Q: I rent a room from a person who has signed a contract with the owner where I have lived for almost 1 year now. I pay for the room and bills but now this person wants to replace me with a friend. Can this person throw me out of this house now? Please can you help advise me?

A: Thank you for your query and I sympathise with your situation. However, I can provide some potential solutions. Based on the information you have provided it appears as if you are occupying your room under license from a tenant, which is category 4 below.

There are four categories of licenses and these include:

  1. People staying in hotels, guesthouses, hostels, etc.,
  2. People sharing a house/apartment with the owner often under the ‘rent a room’ scheme
  3. People occupying accommodation 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
  4. People staying in rented accommodation at the invitation of the tenant.

The provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 do not normally apply to the first three categories. However, the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020 was signed into law on 27th of March 2020 and one of its provisions is that no one can be made to leave their accommodation for the duration of the emergency period. This period is currently defined as the three months after the 28th March, although this may be extended by the Government.

In addition, the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) also states that the provisions of this emergency legislation also include some of the categories listed above. The following link will take you to their website and it is worth contacting them directly to establish if your specific situation meets the new criteria.

There is an alternative approach provided for under the 2004 Act.

While licensees in private rented accommodation are not tenants because there has been no tenancy entered into by them with the landlord.  Based on the information provided it appears that the person you rent the room from is a tenant and has been renting for more than six months and as a result, it is a Part 4 tenancy as outlined by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

As a result, you can now ask the landlord to be allowed to become a tenant, which gives you certain protections of the Act, including protection from eviction. The landlord may not unreasonably refuse such a request and must give his/her acceptance in writing. If you are unreasonably refused you can engage with the RTB and make a complaint to that effect. You can contact the RTB directly via their website on www.rtb.ie.

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