Rent Crisis: ‘No Home Office’, ‘Living Room No Common Area’ – Restrictions on Renters Disclosed in Online Rental Ads

Renters who have to work from home are rejected by some landlords who advertise rental properties.

With the stock of available rental housing at an all-time low, concerns have been raised about the increasing restrictions placed on renters by landlords who occupy the houses they rent out.

Landlords argue that a lack of space makes some properties unsuitable for working from home, while charities believe the Covid-19 pandemic has meant tenants face more restrictions in the homes they rent.

Legal experts have also warned landlords are worried about insurance issues if someone is injured while working from home. Employment attorney Richard Grogan said, “No one wants to open this Pandora’s box.”

A number of adverts currently being displayed on rental website state that renters cannot work from home and cannot access common areas in the properties.

Other posts state that renters cannot have guests or visitors.

“The house is occupied by the owners themselves, as the owner works from home the living room is at no time a communal area,” reads an ad.

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“Midi storage room for rent with wardrobe and side locker. No work from home as it doesn’t fit the atmosphere,” says another.

“This home would suit someone who is friendly, tidy and socializing but leads an independent lifestyle, and ideally someone who is not working from home,” says another.

Another ad said the owner is looking for someone over 30 who doesn’t work from home and doesn’t have pets.

That Irish Independent contacted more than 30 landlords who did not mention teleworking in the property description – the majority live in the houses they rent – and 10 said working from home would not be suitable for reasons such as lack of space and the owner’s presence during the day .

Some didn’t respond and 12 said prospective tenants could work remotely.

One also responded with a list of questions including: “What’s your income?”, “What’s your lifestyle?”, “Do you smoke or have a pet?” and “What do you have for dinner?”

Gavin Elliott, legal counsel at housing association Threshold, said there was a lot of ambiguity when it came to tenants’ right to work from home.

He also warned that tenants living with their landlords are not protected by the Housing Tenancy Act and do not enjoy the same rights as other tenants.

“We’ve always seen that in the student housing market, where renters were restricted to only renting Monday through Friday,” he said.

“But certainly during and after Covid restrictions on what people can and cannot do in the property and what part of the property they can use have become a little more common.

“If you are a licensee [renting a house where you live with the landlord] They have very few rights and no access to the Residential Tenancies Board and this scenario can come as a bit of a shock to people. There are some people who know what they are getting into and they move in knowing they have limited or no rights because there is so little rental housing. People accept situations that they would not normally find ideal.”

Employment lawyer Mr Grogan said private landlords face the same problems as employers when it comes to remote work.

“The first issue that naturally comes up is restrictive regulations, particularly for housing. Apartments usually have a stipulation that they are not to be used for business purposes. Well if you have someone working from home there is an argument that this is a change of use and a breach of the agreement.

“The second is insurance. Whether you live in an apartment or your own home, the insurance is based on the fact that it is primarily a matter of living space and not a place of work. Anyone who works from home all the time needs a printer, but perhaps also a document shredder for confidential documents. So if some five-year-old puts his finger in a paper shredder, who is liable?”

The Irish Property Owners Association, an organization representing private landlords, also highlighted some concerns about remote work, including health and safety issues and disputes between tenants in shared flats.

“Working from home can disrupt other people in the home who have a right to a normal life and make normal noise,” said Margaret McCormack, information officer at the IPOA.

“Renters at home often want to listen to music or engage in an activity that creates noise and causes problems in the shared property.

“Utility bills in a shared flat are usually shared equally, but if some of the residents are working from home this will skew the amount each person will have to pay as extra heating and electricity will be consumed, causing friction and disagreements. “ Rent Crisis: ‘No Home Office’, ‘Living Room No Common Area’ – Restrictions on Renters Disclosed in Online Rental Ads

Fry Electronics Team

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