What if internet access is part of our tenancy agreement?

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Landlords may be concerned if they offer internet access provided by the landlord as part of a tenancy agreement. Under the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act the landlord (as account holder) may be at risk of prosecution if their tenants engage in infringing file sharing activities.

If an internet account is already provided by the landlord as part of a tenancy agreement, the landlord and tenant can come to an agreement about ownership of the account, and negotiate changing the account into the name of the tenant. Changes to a tenancy agreement need to be agreed to in writing by both parties.

A landlord cannot however unilaterally change the terms of the tenancy, so cannot simply close the internet account if it is part of the agreement (verbal or written). When a tenancy ends, a landlord may decide to remove that service in the future.

Tenants, particularly head tenants who have flatmates in their home, also need to understand that as the account holder they will be held responsible if anyone with access to the account misuses it for infringing file sharing.

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