I plan to rent a house with my partner and plan to pay the deposit myself. Is there anything I can do to protect myself if the relationship breaks down?

April 2014

Question

I am considering renting an apartment in Dublin with my partner. He is currently unemployed and is in receipt of social welfare and as such he cannot afford to contribute to the payment of the deposit. I have volunteered to pay the deposit in its entirety, however I am concerned that I will lose my deposit if the relationship breaks down. Is there anything that can be done to allay my fears?

Answer

The best thing you can do to alleviate any concern you may have is to honour the terms of the lease agreement between the landlord, yourself and your partner.

That is to say that the rent is paid on time and that the property is kept in good condition for the duration of the lease. The landlord may legitimately retain part or all of your deposit if at the end of the tenancy there is rent due or if there is unreasonable wear and tear to the property. In the event of non-payment of your rent, the landlord will seek the rent from you or your partner, jointly or separately. If your partner does not have the means to pay the rent the landlord will correctly seek the full money due from you. It is highly likely that the landlord will expect one joint payment periodically and would not accept part payment each month.

The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) was established to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants and for the registration of tenancies in the Republic of Ireland.

Your tenancy will be registered with the PRTB by the landlord. If at the end of your tenancy you do not agree with the landlord retaining your deposit you may revert to the PRTB with your complaint. You may submit a complaint online or in writing to their offices.

The PRTB will adjudicate on a case pertaining to deposits. Perhaps you should identify your financial exposure for the full rent in the event of the relationship failing so as to ensure that you are in a position to absorb the costs in such case where your partner does not contribute the rent. A simple monthly budget plan will clarify your income and outgoings to assist you in identifying any risk you may have.

Paul Huberman is a member of the Property and Facilities Management Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.