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In recent years a number of jurisdictions have sought to reform their landlord and tenant laws to provide enhanced protections for tenants. Ireland was one such jurisdiction and it commenced its reforms relatively early, beginning in 2004. Since then, Ireland’s reforms have been both praised and echoed in other jurisdictions. Yet, Ireland’s Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2022 are not so highly praised within Ireland itself. In this paper, I offer a critical re-reading of these Acts and their efforts to rebalance the landlord-tenant relationship in Ireland. While it is true that the Acts appear to grant many rights to tenants, the Acts fail to see that these rights are adequately enforced or respected and fail to provide suitable punishment for those landlords who do not abide by the rules. I argue that Ireland’s residential tenancies legislation does not adequately reflect the realities of its private rented sector. I also argue that there is scope to reform the Residential Tenancies Acts in a way which would both respect tenants’ housing rights and landlords’ property rights.

Dr Sarah Hamill is an Assistant Professor at the School of Law, Trinity College Dublin.  Her main areas of research are property law and theory, legal history, and housing rights. She is particularly interested in the interaction of property rights and housing rights.  

Chair: Professor Carl Stychin (IALS).


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