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Many people are aware of the recent changes to Landlord Tenant law and the Residential Tenancies Board. These changes have been introduced to protect the Tenant with fairer rent standards and limits on increases, as well as protecting both the Landlord and the Tenant with regard to fair notice should either party wish to end the contract.

What few people realise is that the rent of a room in a residential property does not have the protections of renting a property. The person renting a room is there with the consent on the property owner and as such has no right to any remedies or protections should the arrangement fail or be unfair. While these were originally a student arrangement or ‘digs’ where students from the outside Dublin would arrange to stay with local families for a set fee, it has become more widespread around Dublin in light of the housing crisis.

Students have all come across many horror stories in relation to “digs” – including families who will only rent the bedroom without use of bathroom or kitchen facilities, where the students must return home at the weekends, where they have a curfew or must be out of the property all day. In this instance there is no fall back for the student who must either live with the situation or find alternative accommodation.

In many of these instances the Landlords are not declaring the rent as income to Revenue and it is impossible to know who is living in a house and paying rent at any given moment. While this may seem like a cheaper option for those who are stuck, the rooms can be anywhere from €400 per week up to €1,300 per week in the capital, making them on par with a number of rented properties, but without the security and recourse of a legal arrangement.

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