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Kelly Bradshaw Dalton examines the proposed Path to Tenant Empowerment: The Residential Tenancies (Right to Purchase) Bill 2023

In March 2023, a significant legislative proposal was introduced with the aim of reshaping the landscape of tenant rights in Ireland. The Residential Tenancies (Right to Purchase) Bill 2023, emerged from governmental consensus on measures to enhance tenant opportunities in purchasing their rental homes. This initiative, heralded for its forward-thinking approach, underwent rigorous pre-legislative scrutiny, resulting in a series of pivotal recommendations aimed at refining and reinforcing its objectives. In December 2023 the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage issued a report on the proposed legislation.

Clarifying the Legislation’s Title and Intent

A primary recommendation from the Oireachtas committee on housing suggests a revision of the bill’s title to more accurately reflect its essence—not as an outright “right to purchase” but as a “right of first refusal” or an “invitation to bid.” This adjustment is crucial for setting realistic expectations and underscoring the bill’s true purpose: to offer tenants a preliminary option to buy their homes under specific conditions, rather than an unconditional purchasing right.

Enhancing Understanding through FAQsOireachtas committee on housing

The complexity of the bill’s application across varied scenarios prompted the Oireachtas committee on housing to advocate for the development of comprehensive FAQs by the Department. This effort aims to demystify the legislation for all stakeholders, ensuring tenants and landlords alike can navigate the new landscape with clarity and confidence.

Streamlining the Process

The committee’s scrutiny led to suggestions for procedural improvements, such as exempting the 90-day bidding period when a tenant explicitly opts out. Moreover, standardising the bid recording process through statutory declarations was recommended to foster transparency and accountability. These procedural refinements are intended to simplify the process, making it more accessible and understandable for tenants.

Safeguards and Fair Play

Acknowledging the potential for manipulation in the bidding process, the committee called for safeguards to authenticate counteroffers. Such measures are vital for maintaining the integrity of the process, ensuring it remains fair and transparent.

Empowering Tenants through Agency Transfer

A notable recommendation is the proposed mechanism allowing tenants to transfer their bidding rights to eligible agencies within the 90-day window. This option could significantly bolster tenants’ chances of securing their homes, leveraging the support of local authorities or Approved Housing Bodies (AHB).

Ensuring Adequate Resources and Clarifications

The committee underscored the need for resource allocation to effectively implement the bill’s provisions, alongside a harmonisation of landlord and tenant obligations language. Clarifications on the application of the “slip rule” and guidance for adjudicators on its use were also deemed essential for consistency and fairness.

Oversight and Electronic Communications

Enhanced oversight for private Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) adjudications and the specification of electronic communication methods in tenant-landlord interactions reflect a modernisation of the process. These recommendations aim to streamline and update the procedural aspects of the bill, aligning it with contemporary communication practices.

Rethinking Tribunal Notice Periods

A significant procedural recommendation is the removal of the proposal to shorten the notice period for Tribunal hearings from 21 to 10 days. This reflects a commitment to ensuring due process and adequate preparation time for all parties involved.


Kelly Bradshaw Dalton report that The Residential Tenancies (Right to Purchase) Bill 2023 represents a landmark effort to empower tenants in Ireland. The Oireachtas committee’s recommendations are instrumental in refining the bill, ensuring it is both practical and equitable. By addressing procedural efficiencies, safeguarding fairness, and enhancing clarity, the proposed amendments aim to fortify the bill’s foundation, making it a robust framework for tenant empowerment. As Ireland moves towards enacting these changes, the focus remains on creating a more balanced, transparent, and fair rental market for its citizens.