Thursday, February 20, 2020

Know your rights: Rent pressure zones


Know your rights: Rent pressure zones

Question 
What is a rent pressure zone?

Answer
A rent pressure zone (RPZ) is an area where rents cannot be increased by more than 4% each year. They are areas where rents are above the national average and rising quickly. Rent pressure zones are intended to control the rise in rents in these areas. An area must meet specific criteria to become a rent pressure zone.

Most rent increases in rent pressure zones are capped at 4% and there are limits on how often the rent can be reviewed. There are different rules about the limits and frequency of rent reviews, depending on whether the tenancy in the rent pressure zone is an existing or new tenancy.

However, not all properties in rent pressure zones are subject to the 4% restriction. Some properties are exempt. A landlord can seek an exemption for: 
A property that has not been let at any time in the previous two years
A property where no previous tenancy existed that is a protected structure, or  in a protected structure or proposed protected structure and has not been let in the previous 12 months
Properties that have been substantially changed (the RTB website has full details of the types of substantial change required)

Designated rent pressure zones will be in place until 31 December 2021. You can find out if you live in a rent pressure zone by visiting citizensinformation.ie. Further information on rent pressure zones and a calculator to calculate the maximum allowable rent in a rent pressure zone is also available from onestopshop.rtb.ie/rent-pressure-zones.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. 
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Know your rights: Voting in the general election


Know your rights A: Voting in the general election

Question
Can I vote in the general election on 8 February?

Answer
To vote in an Irish general election, you must be an Irish or British citizen, 18 years of age or over and registered to vote. This means your name must be entered on one of the following:
·     The main Register of Electors
·     The Postal Voters List (people who can vote by post)
·     The Special Voters List (people who are living in a nursing home or other institution)
·     A supplement to one of these 3 lists
The 2019-20 Register of Electors and its Supplement will be used in the general election on 8 February. The 2020-2021 Register comes into effect on 15 February 2020, after the election.

To make sure you are on the 2019-20 Register, go to checktheregister.ie, or contact your local authority, Garda station, post office or public library.

If you are not on the Register, you can:
·     Contact your local authority to check if you are on the Supplement to the 2019-2020 Register. If you are on the Supplement, then you are registered to vote in the general election.
·     If you are not on the Supplement, you can register to be included in the Supplement using form RFA2. If you have changed address you use form RFA3.

Forms must be received by your local authority before close of business on 22 January 2020.

Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon
Information is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Know your rights: Drink driving

Question
What are the legal alcohol limits for driving?

Answer
It is an offence to drive in a public place if you are too intoxicated to have proper control of your vehicle. An intoxicant can be either alcohol or drugs, or both.

It is also an offence to drive in a public place if the level of alcohol in your blood, breath or urine is above the prescribed alcohol limit. There are different alcohol limits for experienced drivers and new drivers. New drivers are drivers with learner permits or drivers who have held a driving licence for 2 years or less, or people without a valid licence or permit.

The legal limits for fully-licenced drivers are:
·         50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
·         67 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
·         22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
The legal limits for professional, learner and novice drivers are:
·         20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood
·         27 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine
·         9 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath
GardaĆ­ can set up a roadblock to conduct random alcohol and drug testing. It is unlawful to refuse to be breathalysed, and you can be fined up to €5000, or be imprisoned for up to 6 months, or both. Penalties for drink driving vary depending on the amount of alcohol that has been detected in your system. The court will also take into account whether this is your first offence or otherwise.

All drink driving offences result in disqualification from driving for at least 3 months.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Know your rights A: Taxi charges


Question
Can taxis charge higher fares over Christmas and New Year?

Answer
Yes, taxis can charge more on certain days over Christmas. Drivers have the right to charge the maximum amount calculated on the meter, or a lower amount at their discretion. However, you can always ask for a discount before engaging a taxi.

There are three different rates under the National Maximum Taxi Fare; the standard rate, the premium rate and the special premium rate.

The standard rate applies from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday. The premium rate applies at night from 8pm to 8am and on Sundays and public holidays. And the special premium rate applies between 8pm on Christmas Eve and 8am on St. Stephen's Day and between 8pm on New Year's Eve and 8am on New Year's Day. The rates are lowest at the standard rate and most expensive at the special premium rate. So, taxis can charge more when the special premium rate applies over Christmas. 

The National Maximum Taxi Fare consists of 3 separate parts:
·         Initial charge: amount which appears on the meter at the beginning of the journey. This is €3.80 at the standard rate and €4.20 at the premium rates. It includes an initial distance of 500m, or 85 seconds.
·         Further travel: after the distance/time included in the initial charge, further travel is calculated on small portions of the journey. At low speeds, or when a taxi is stationary, the fare is calculated on the basis of time. The charges for further travel differ depending on what rate applies when you are travelling.
·         Extra charges: there are strict rules about extra charges, including a booking fee, additional passenger charges and a soiling charge.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Centre below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Know Your Rights: Patient Advocacy Service

Question
I was in hospital recently and I was not happy with my experience there. When I complained to the nurse in charge I wasn’t satisfied with the response. How can I take my complaint further?

Answer
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has a complaints system, called Your service your say, that you can use to make a complaint about your experience of a service provided by the HSE or on behalf of the HSE.

If you want to make a complaint about a public hospital to the HSE, you can get support from the new Patient Advocacy Service to help you make your complaint. The Patient Advocacy Service is fully independent of the HSE. It is a free and confidential service that provides information and support to people who want to make a formal complaint about an experience they have had in a public acute hospital. 

The Patient Advocacy Service provides support by phone helpline, on 0818 293003, and on its website, patientadvocacyservice.ie, where you can find information and a contact form. The service can explain how to make a formal complaint, including what you should include in your complaint and how to write it.

If there is a delay with the processing of the complaint or if you are not satisfied with the outcome, the Patient Advocacy Service can give you information about your options.


Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.


Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.


Friday, September 27, 2019

Know Your Rights: Small Claims Procedure



Question
I am unhappy with the repair work a builder has done to my house, he hasn’t fixed the issue and he refuses to put it right. Do I have any rights in this situation?

Answer
If your builder is unwilling to compensate you, you may be able to make a claim against them using the small claims procedure. The aim of this procedure is to provide an inexpensive, fast and easy way for consumers to resolve disputes without a solicitor. The maximum amount you can claim for under the small claims procedure is €2,000. The small claims procedure is provided through local District Court offices.
If you have purchased goods or services for private use from someone selling them in the course of business, you can make a claim using the small claims procedure. You can make claims for bad workmanship, minor damage to property, faulty goods and for the non-return of rent deposits for certain kinds of rented properties, for example, a holiday home. Businesses can also use this procedure to make claims against other businesses about contracts for goods or services purchased.
To make a claim, you need to complete the application form and submit it and a fee of €25 to the Small Claims Registrar. You can do this online at the Courts Service Online website, csol.ie. Alternatively, you can download the application form from courts.ie or get a copy from the Small Claims Registrar at the District Court office. Make sure you include the correct name and address of the company or person you are claiming against. You can double-check this information on the Companies Registration Office website at cro.ie.
The Registrar sends a copy of your application to the person you are making the claim against. If the other person does not reply within 15 days of receiving your application, your claim will be automatically treated as undisputed. Then the court will make an order in your favour for the amount claimed, and direct that it be paid within a specific period of time. If your claim is disputed, the Registrar will give you a copy of the reasons why the other person is disputing your claim. The Registrar will try to negotiate a settlement to the dispute. If no settlement can be reached, the matter is set for a court hearing in the District Court.
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.

Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Know Your Rights: Returning to Ireland



Question
My son has been living in Australia for the last fifteen years and is planning to return to Ireland next year for good. Where can he find practical information about returning home?

Answer
The more prepared your son is, the easier his move home will be so he should start his research as soon as he can. Citizens Information has developed a new online Returning to Ireland resource with a broad range of information specifically intended for Irish citizens who are living abroad and are planning to return home to live in Ireland.

This new online resource is filled with practical information to help Irish citizens plan their return and settle back in Ireland as smoothly as possible.  It covers everything from residency applications for non-EU family members, applying for passports for children and accessing the public health system on your return to Ireland.
If your son is planning to start work when he returns he may want to know about PPS numbers, registering for tax purposes and getting recognition for foreign qualifications in Ireland.  If he is returning with a family or children he may need to know about applying for Child Benefit, enrolling in school or college and exemptions from learning the Irish language in school. The site also has information about converting a foreign driving license to an Irish one, getting car insurance as a returning Irish emigrant and travelling to Ireland with your pet. 
Further information is available from the Citizens Information Service below.


Know Your Rights has been compiled by South Connacht Citizens Information Service CLG, which provides a free and confidential service to the public.
Tel: 0761 07 6330 Address: Boyle CIC, Elphin Street, Boyle, Co. RoscommonInformation is also available online at citizensinformation.ie and from the Citizens Information Phone Service, 0761 07 4000.