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Rent Tribunal FAQs

THE SCOPE OF THE RENT TRIBUNAL

The Rent Tribunal was set up to fix the terms of tenancy of dwellings formerly controlled under the Rent Restrictions Acts. The Rent Tribunal does not deal with other types of private rented accommodation.

WHAT DOES THE RENT TRIBUNAL DO?

If the landlord or the tenant of a formerly controlled dwelling applies to it, the Rent Tribunal will fix the terms of tenancy, including the rent for the dwelling.

RENTS SET BY THE TRIBUNAL

Where a landlord and tenant cannot reach an agreement on the rent for a dwelling either may apply to the Rent Tribunal to have the rent fixed. In fixing a rent the Tribunal will take into account the factors set out below. The Tribunal will also have regard to any improvements carried out by the tenant to the dwelling.

HOW THE TRIBUNAL WORKS

The Rent Tribunal determines applications on the basis of written submissions made to it and oral hearings held by it. The Tribunal requires that landlords and tenants applying to it furnish certain written information. Any information provided by one party will be forwarded to the other party. The Tribunal will hold an oral hearing if either party requests it but the case can be determined solely on the basis of written submissions. An inspection of the dwelling will normally be carried out by the Tribunal, which would usually include a member who has valuation expertise.

THE CONDUCT OF ORAL HEARINGS

Oral hearings are held before three members of the Tribunal. The proceedings will be as informal as possible and the parties may present their own cases or have somebody appear on their behalf.

DECISIONS OF THE RENT TRIBUNAL

The decision of the Rent Tribunal on an application will be communicated in writing to both parties as soon as possible after the date of the determination. The decision will be sent in the form of a signed order of the Tribunal and will include the terms of tenancy of the dwelling.

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How do I know if my dwelling was controlled under the Rent Restrictions Acts?

A dwelling could have been controlled only if it was built before 1941 and was below certain rateable valuations. A good rule of thumb is: if the dwelling was let unfurnished and the rent remained the same over a number of years prior to the 1982 Act, it was probably a controlled dwelling. If you are unsure you should consult a solicitor.

If the dwelling was controlled, is the tenant now protected?

Yes. If the dwelling was controlled on July 25th, 1982, the tenant is protected under the 1982 Act.

WHAT DOES THE RENT TRIBUNAL DO?

If the landlord or the tenant of a formerly controlled dwelling applies to it, the Rent Tribunal will fix the terms of tenancy, including the rent for the dwelling.

Does the Rent Tribunal fix only the rent for the dwelling?

No. The Tribunal will fix the other terms of tenancy as well as the rent.

What is meant by the ‘other terms of tenancy’?

The 'other terms of tenancy' include agreements concerning the use of the dwelling, such as, the responsibility for repairs, insurance and any other charges that might need to be paid in respect of the dwelling.

Does the Rent Tribunal deal with other disputes?

No. All other matters arising under the 1982 Act - such as an application for recovery of possession by the landlord - come within the jurisdiction of the District Court.

Who can apply to the Rent Tribunal?

Either the landlord or the tenant can apply.

Can a solicitor apply on my behalf?

Yes. Your solicitor can apply on your behalf.

If the tenant does not agree with the amount of the new rent being asked by the landlord, can the tenant be forced to accept it?

No. If the tenant disagrees with the proposed rent, it is up to the landlord to apply to the Tribunal to fix the rent - though the tenant may apply if he wishes.

What factors will the Tribunal take into account in fixing a new rent?

In fixing a new rent the Tribunal will have regard to:

  • the nature, character and location of the dwelling,
  • the other terms of tenancy,
  • the means of the landlord and tenant,
  • the date of purchase of the dwelling by the landlord and the amount he paid for it ,
  • the length of the tenant's occupancy,
  • the number and ages of the tenant's family residing in the dwelling.

Will improvements carried out by the tenant be taken into account by the Tribunal in fixing the rent?

Yes. Any addition to or alteration of the dwelling carried out by the tenant or his predecessors, on or after 31st December, 1960 which adds to the present letting value of the dwelling will be taken into account. In review applications any improvements carried out by the tenant since the date of the previous determination of the terms of tenancy will be taken into account.

Improvements include the provision of any service to the dwelling such as water supply, toilet facilities etc., but do not include painting or decorating, or repairs unless such repairs were the landlord’s responsibility and he failed to carry them out.

What is the difference between an oral hearing and a written determination?

Both types of cases will be determined on the basis of the same criteria for fixing the terns of tenancy. The difference between the two procedures is that for a written determination neither party need attend before the Tribunal.

Are there time limits for applying for oral hearings?

Yes. If you are the person applying to the Tribunal to fix the terms of tenancy of a dwelling and if you wish an oral hearing to be held you should make your request at the time of application. If you are the other party (respondent) you must make your request within 14 days of receipt of notification from the Tribunal of an application having been made.

Will I be allowed legal representation at the hearing?

Yes. You may be represented by a solicitor or by any other person of your choice. If you choose to be legally represented you must give seven days notice of your intention to the other party and to the Tribunal. Without such notice, you may not be legally represented.

Will I be allowed to present evidence – valuer’s reports etc. - at the hearing?

Yes

Will I be allowed to question evidence?

Yes

Who will bear the costs of the hearing?

The Rent Tribunal now has greater discretion in awarding costs and may award costs in any case coming before it. Written and oral cases will be treated equally in the awarding of costs. The new arrangements apply to applications received on or after 1 July, 1988. In the case of applications on hand before that date, costs are generally awarded as follows. Where the landlord requests the oral hearing, he is liable for the tenant’s cost and expenses arising out of the hearing other then those of legal representation. However, the landlord will be responsible for the tenant’s costs and expenses of legal representation at the hearing where the landlord first opts for legal representation.

How will I know if the other party is to be legally represented?

You will have received notice of their intension at least seven days prior to the hearing. Once you have received such notice you are entitled to have legal representation at the hearing without giving notice to the other party or to the Tribunal

When will the new rent come into force?

The new rent will come into force on the first gale day (the first normal day for paying rent) after the landlord has registered the new rent with the housing authority. The landlord must also sign a copy of the terms of tenancy as determined by the Tribunal and give it to the tenant.

How does the landlord register a new rent?

The landlord must notify the housing authority of a new rent on a form which is available from any housing authority. Where the new rent is lower than the existing rent, the landlord is not required to register it and the rent comes into force on the first gale day after the decision of the Tribunal.