I’m worried about the resale value of my apartment if I set the rent too low

Property Clinic: Do I still have to register with the RTB if I rent to a family friend?

Does a landlord have to register with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB)? I have recently bought a one-bed apartment in Rathmines as an investment. (I came into money and wanted to protect against inflation.) The apartment is in good condition and is in a good location so will be easy to rent. My predicament with the rent cap is that this is my only chance to set the rent. Looking at other properties, I could easily look for €1,800 to €2,000, which I think is ridiculous for a one-bed. I would be happy with €1,500 a month, especially if I let a family friend live there and knew they would look after the place. The problem is that if I set the rent cap at €1,500 a month, I can’t increase it by more than 2 per cent and if in five years I decide to sell my apartment, it would be devalued for other landlords buying it as they can also not increase the rent.

I’m wondering if I find a family friend to live there, can I let them rent it on a casual agreement without registering with the RTB and registering a rent cap? I would obviously still declare my income to Revenue. I think the rent cap is not helping with rent prices. I think the cap should be for a given area. For example, if rents for Rathmines one-beds were limited at €1,800 a month, if I want to rent my apartment for €1,500 for a year I can, but I could then increase it to €1,800 if I needed to. If a tenant came to me saying they were struggling to pay rent for a few months, I couldn’t reduce it without affecting the rent cap, which just seems crazy.

Your question exposes the inherent contradictions contained within the Rent Pressure Zone legislation and the ridiculous unintended consequences that flow from it.

I take it that the property in question has not been previously let in the last two years and, therefore, you are not captured within the Rent Pressure Zone.


If you are renting a residential property to a family or individuals, it must be registered with the RTB, there are no ifs or buts about that. If you do not register with the RTB and there is subsequently a dispute with the occupant then they can lodge a dispute with the RTB and you would not only have to appear before the RTB but you would also be exposed to penalties for not registering.

As a seasoned practitioner of 45 years, it is my view that there is no such thing as a friend in business; business is business. A lot of things can go wrong in rentals, some of which can be totally out of the control of landlord and tenant, such as a friend of the occupant visiting the property and causing disturbance or damage.

Say you adopted the proposition of renting to a friend at a low rent and you declared it to the Revenue but not to the RTB; you might go under the radar with the RTB. Nonetheless, that brings another problem: when you go at some future point to sell the property then requisitions on title will be presented during the sales process and you will be asked if the property was rented. You will then have to state that it was either rented or not. If you were to mislead the purchaser and subsequent investigations revealed that it has been rented, a whole chain of events could unfold, causing you serious consequences.

My understanding is that the Revenue Commissioners, the Department of Social Protection and the RTB are sharing information. While I do understand and have sympathy with where you are coming from, my advice is to not give this proposition any further consideration.

Your question clearly acknowledges you are aware of the financial consequences of registering at a lower rent and subsequent diminution of value. I recommend you engage with a reputable agent who has knowledge and experience of current market challenges in your area and who will secure a tenant who will pay market rent. There is no point in achieving a huge rent if the tenants cannot pay in month three or four. This is a complex and contentious sector, and I believe the complexity has been largely caused by recent tenancy legislation.

Kersten Mehl is a chartered residential agency surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland

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

This column is a readers’ service. The content of the Property Clinic is provided for general information only. It is not intended as advice on which readers should rely. Professional or specialist advice should be obtained before persons take or refrain from any action on the basis of the content. The Irish Times and it contributors will not be liable for any loss or damage arising from reliance on any content