Licensees are one of the most vulnerable groups renting in Ireland, with very limited rights. Licensees are those who are renting a room from an existing tenant of a property. In these cases, normal landlord and tenant laws do not apply and the licensee is left very vulnerable with little to no protections legally in place.
Traditionally, licensees would be thought of as students and young people perhaps starting out in their first job, as they tend to rent a room in someone else’s home. This is not necessarily the case anymore.
Unfortunately, we see more people coming to our service who are licensees being taken advantage of by the person they are renting from. The licensor in these instances is often not the homeowner but is a “head tenant” who sublets the rooms, with or without the homeowner’s knowledge. The clients have no recourse to the RTB if there has been any misconduct by the licensor, such as deposit retention, eviction with little notice, rent increases and even intimidation.
Threshold is in favour of and calling on the Government to increase the rights of Licensees.
Threshold is calling for a review of the category of licensee with the view to abolishing the category of licenses in domestic and non-domestic contexts. However, we understand that this is a nuanced issue with limits.
Therefore, additionally, Threshold is calling on the Oireachtas Housing Committee to meet, following similar problem-solving procedures as the Short Term Lets issue. Experts and witnesses should be called, including international examples of existing laws, landlords, Threshold, tenants, and Licensees, to give statements and work collaboratively to come up with a nuanced solution.