Alarm provided in rental

OK so we are back in another dilemma with the new landlord and regretting our tenancy more and more by the day, it’s clear this landlord wants to do the absolute minimum. When we viewed the house there was an eircom alarm installed, this was one of our requirements for renting the property. Long before we signed the contract we were asking for the codes, not really thinking this would be an issue, they are just codes for an alarm. Sherry Fitz kept on delaying, we weren’t overly worried as we figured this wouldn’t be a big deal and didn’t think there was any ill intent. A few days before signing the lease we are told the landlord doesn’t have the codes so the landlords arranges for eircom to come out and reset it, however the appointment would be after the lease would have been signed and we would have already moved in, we saw no reason to hold up the signing of the lease just for this as surely it was easily remedied. Eircom then come out and say that it is an old alarm and cannot be reset and that a new one needs to be installed, we are then told by Sherry fitz that as the property was not “advertised” with an alarm, that we will have to bear the financial cost of a new alarm installation.

It would be great to get some advice on the landlords obligations, but also, does anyone know anything about alarms, I’ve finding it hard to believe the story from eircom that the codes cannot be reset.


If it’s not on the schedule for the lease you signed, the landlord is under no legal obligation to provide it. However, the landord is acting in bad faith but not informing you of the situation in advance.

The “not advertised with” argument is a little lame. It was reasonable for you to expect that the Alarm was serviceable, just as you would expect that windows and doors open and close correctly.

My advice is keep pushing on the grounds of what is fair and reasonable. Although I would be concerned about the credibility of your landlord going forward.

I presume you have rented before but this type of experience seems to go with the territory. I sympathise, but you’re not the first person to post on this forum recently with serious gripes about landlord, letting agent, condition of house, problems with appliances, conditions of lease, and so on. Few of the aforementioned posters seem to have had much success in resolving their problems without subjecting themselves to appalling levels of distress and anxiety.

I suggest that you try to engage with the landlord in a reasonable negotiation and try to reach some kind of acceptable compromise, but try not to to let it stress you out. If negotiation fails you will probably have to put up and shut up. The upside of renting is that if you don’t like the conditions you are free to move on as soon as the lease expires. The downside is that renting sucks.

An alarm guy came to do something with ours recently and he re-set it. I got the impression he wasn’t supposed to, he sort of asked me to get him something and when I came back he’d it done!

Get a quote to have an alarm fitted or the existing one reset and ask the landlord if he’ll pay it. Explain to the landlord that having a house with a functioning alarm is easier to rent than one without and that if he pays to have it done it will be there for the next tenant, whereas if you pay for it you’ll take it with you when you leave.

I presume what Eircom meant was that the alarm was not and can not be connected to their monitored alarm system? Even if the alarm was connectable, you would still have to pay a (hefty) fee for reconnection - its not just a case of ‘resetting codes’ if the connection has been disabled for some time. The landlord was therefore to my mind lying outright when he was delaying on ‘giving you the codes’ - he must have been well aware that the alarm was not connected to a monitored system (and possibly never had been if Eircom said the alarm type is unusable with their service?)

In terms of landlord’s obligations/your legitimate expectations, I think you are conflating two different things. I certainly think that you could argue that you had a legitimate expectation that there would be a functioning alarm, having seen the alarm box in the property when you viewed it. I don’t think you could argue that you had a legitimate expectation that there would be a functioning Eircom monitored alarm system - if there had been, I would have expected the contract to specify that and make clear whether the monthly cost was part of the rent or whether it was additional cost that the tenant was expected to pay directly to Eircom.

We rented out our house some time ago with a functioning monitored alarm system. I thought we had made clear to the tenants that we expected them to maintain the contract with Eircom but either we weren’t clear enough or they ignored us. I regret not putting it clearly in the contract, as when we got the house back, the alarm had been disabled and the sensors broken - it cost a fortune to reinstate the sensors and reconnect the alarm.

If I were you, I would request the landlord to bear the cost of installing a functioning alarm system and make it clear that you will bear the cost of the monthly monitoring charge. However, I doubt you get very far unfortunately.

In addition, it might be worth explaining to your landlord that he might receive a reduction in his insurance costs if there is a functioning monitored alarm.

If he is already claiming this discount and the alarm is not functioning than there is the possibility that the insurance company will refuse any future claim.

Given that we are discussing an Eircom alarm, who is responsible for paying the annual maintenance cost?

Depends if you want out of the house, if you have children etc - you appear to have a PRTB case there of being persistently misled by the letting agent.

I would cancel my DD and see what happens. You’ll make back the deposit in a month.

Thanks for all the advice so far.

The alarm can be either monitored or just a standalone alarm. We reasonably expected that if we wanted the alarm monitored then we would bear the cost, that’s fair enough, I see that as the same as paying an electricity bill.

All we are looking for is the code for the alarm for it to be standalone, nothing more.

Is it furnished? does he have landlord insurance? It may have a bearing on the insurance cost (having an alarm…)

Take as many details of the alarm type and model as you can and ring a few independent alarm/security people for advice. I can dig out the number of the guy we had recently, PM me if interested

Why did you ask Eircom to come out if all you want is the code for a standalone alarm? They would only have codes for it if it were part of their monitored alarm system. Its presumably the landlord himself that has the codes. Or, if he has forgotten them, then call the makers/distributors of the alarm and ask them how to reset it. Its nothing to do with Eircom.

No it’s unfurnished, no idea if he has insurance.

Just did thanks.

We did, it was eircom that said the hardware is too old for them to be able to reset it, eircom are the providers and installers.

I’m going to check the manufacturer and model number of the alarm tonight and see what can be done, thanks.

How long ago did you sign the lease?

How do you think they are doing under section 3.1 of the code of practice?]($File/Code%20of%20Practice.pdf)

To add to this had a similar situation when moving in to a house about a year ago; after a bit of to and fro with Eircom I got onto someone with them who organised a standalone reset - some of the ‘customer representatives’ on the phone hadn’t a clue and were suggesting a full reinstall. It wasn’t in the end necessary - as long as it didn’t include phonewatch.

I would make sure and contact the landlord directly, you might find him/her more receptive to your plight. In my eighth rental at the moment and I’ve been consistently appalled by the standard of “professionalism” shown by letting agents but have had a generally good experience with landlords. Quite a lot of letting agents see it as their job to not disturb the landlord about anything and indeed sell their service on this “you won’t be bothered basis” and spend their time basically ignoring the tenants if they can get away with it. The only thing that gets them moving is a call from the landlord - you might find your landlord has never even been asked about the alarm and is hoping you will just sort out the alarm yourself or forget about it. When I have to deal with a letting agent about something I always outline the problem clearly in writing (with a follow-up phone call or two) and give them a few business days to deal with it. After that, I contact the landlord - by phone and outline the problem, explaining that I have phoned and written to the agent and am very sorry to disturb etc. After that, I usually get a call by the agent with some bs excuse but the problem gets resolved. Once this happens a few times, you start to get a more receptive agent as they finally cop that if they don’t answer your enquiry you will contact the landlord yourself.

EDIT TO ADD: Do not follow the advice to cancel the direct debit, that’s simply not fair. But do offer to the landlord to take care of installing a new alarm (if needed) or having the alarm serviced and take it out of the following month’s rent and sending him the invoice.

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Most landlords are reasonable but not all tenants are :slight_smile:

Get down off that horse!

An unreasonable tenant.