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How do I go about renting out my house now that I live in a nursing home?

I need some income from the house - but I am nervous and ignorant about how to go about letting it out

Would you please advise me about renting my home – a semidetached house in south Dublin? I am now in a nursing home, and will be in the future. I need some income from the house but I am nervous and ignorant about how to go about letting it out.

It’s not clear from your query whether or not you are availing of the Fair Deal scheme. If you are, the good news is that as of February 1st this year, you are able to keep 100 per cent of the rental income.

Previously you had to pay 40 per cent of the rental income towards your nursing home care and you were allowed to keep 60 per cent.

But whether you are availing of Fair Deal or not, there are a number of steps you need to take before renting out your home.

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If your home has not been rented out previously – which appears to be the case – you will be in a position to charge full market rent. If it has been rented out within the past two years, the rent will be capped, as it is located in a rent-pressure zone.

I think the best course of action would be for you and a family member to get professional advice from a proficient letting agent who can advise you of the open market rental value of the property, and who could also manage the rental for you if required. This will free you up from having to deal with issues if and when they occur during the tenancy. You will need to sign terms of engagement if you appoint a letting/managing agent. A Ber cert will also be required for the property, and this will be valid for 10 years.

Appropriate written references from prospective tenants will be required and will need to be vetted along with photo IDs and proof of an Irish bank account.

Once a suitable tenant is found or a shortlist of two or three prospective tenants is drawn up, you or a family member should have the option to meet them and choose who you want as tenants. You can also waive this option if you wish.

Once a tenant is chosen, a deposit of one month’s rent and one month’s rent in advance is taken and a lease is drawn up and signed by your tenants and yourself or your appointed agent, or someone who you may wish to appoint as having power of attorney on your behalf. This lease will also contain the inventory of contents of the house and the gas and electricity meter readings. Photos should be taken of each room and the gardens. These, along with the inventory of contents, are examined at the conclusion of the tenancy, which will help determine the deposit refund.

The tenancy is then registered with the Rental Tenancies Board (RTB) at an annual registration fee of €40. The utilities, ie gas and electricity accounts, need to be changed into the tenant’s names once the readings are taken and submitted to the relevant providers.

Regardless of the lease, when a tenant is in occupation for more than six months, they are entitled to remain there for an indefinite period under a “Part 4 tenancy”, provided they are not in breach of any of the provisions of the lease.

You can still terminate the tenancy at any time by giving appropriate notice (Notice periods are set out within the lease and are also on the RTB website). You can terminate the tenancy by sending your tenant a signed and stamped declaration by your solicitor if you wish to sell the property, if you or a family member wishes to live in it, or if you intend to carry out substantial improvements (extensions etc).

Your bank details will be contained in the lease. Alternatively, your managing agent’s details will be in the lease for collection of rent on your behalf.

Roger Berkeley is a chartered residential surveyor, a registered valuer and fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

Do you have a query? Email propertyquestions@irishtimes.com

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