RTB Dispute Resolution Services During the Emergency Period

COVID-19 and the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020 have brought changes to the RTBs Dispute Resolution Services during the emergency period. Find out more below.

We are working to ensure Dispute Resolution Services continue to be available for landlords, tenants and third parties. The RTB is continuing to offer telephone mediation hearings and applicants can decide to switch their case from adjudication to telephone mediation. With telephone mediation, parties do not have to attend face to face hearings and are focused on coming to a mutual agreement between parties. Where a person who has submitted an application for dispute resolution wishes to change from adjudication to mediation, they are asked to contact the RTB with their request. We are encouraging customers to avail of our telephone mediation service and encouraging this option as much as possible to resolve disputes during the COVID-19 emergency period. We are also looking at other means of adjudication that do not require physical attendance at hearings and will update our website with developments. For more information about telephone mediation, please visit our website here and if you have further queries related to a dispute resolution case, please feel free to email disputes@rtb.ie.

Below is an overview of all Dispute Resolution Services offered by the RTB and COVID-19 related updates.

Telephone Mediation: Mediation is a free service offered by the RTB that allows two or more disputing parties to resolve their conflict in a mutually agreeable way with the help of a neutral third party, a mediator. Mediation can be carried out via telephone, which is a fast and convenient option for many people. The aim of mediation is to give landlords and tenants a shared understanding of the issue, so they can work towards reaching a mutually satisfactory outcome and agreement. The mediation process is not based on examining evidence or determining who is right or wrong, but rather how parties can resolve the issue by working together. It is confidential, and the outcomes are not published on the RTB website.

The key benefit of this resolution type is that case parties do not have to leave their home and they do not have to interact physically with other case parties. Over 70% of cases which enter telephone mediation result in an agreement. Types of agreements the RTB regularly see are rental payment plans put in place, a new termination date agreed, or a lowered rent amount due to the changing circumstances of the tenant; however, the tenancy continues successfully. If you are interested in telephone mediation, please email disputes@rtb.ie or visit the RTB website here for more information.

Adjudication: The fee for adjudication is €15 for an online application and €25 for a paper application. This involves a hearing before an independent adjudicator, where both the landlord and tenant present their evidence and the adjudicator makes a binding decision, which is issued to all parties a number of weeks after the hearing in a detailed report. Adjudication hearings take place in 7 regional centres nationwide. Although adjudication proceedings and the adjudicator's report are confidential, it is important to remember that the Determination Order will be published on the RTB website and will list the names of the case parties and the rental property address.

The RTB is reviewing how adjudications can procced during the emergency period and is looking at the introduction of evidence-based adjudications where parties do not have to physically attend a hearing but are given time to assess and reply to the case before them before the decision maker proceeds to make a decision based on those written submissions. The RTB is also reviewing how hearings could take place virtually and wherever possible will look to implement technological changes once they are legislatively sound and ensuring that they work and are accessible for our customers. For more information on adjudication, please visit the RTB website here.

Tenancy Tribunal: If you or a case party is unhappy with the outcome of either mediation or adjudication, you can refer the case to a three-person tenancy tribunal, who are appointed to review the case and evidence from the beginning and make a final decision. The fee for lodging an appeal to a tenancy tribunal is €85, if submitted online, and €100, if submitted by paper. Tribunal reports are published in full on the RTB website.

The RTB is reviewing tribunals in the context of social distancing and will look to implement any measures which would ensure best practices are adhered to for our customers. The RTB is also researching how tribunals could potentially take place virtually and, wherever possible, will look to implement technological changes once they are legislatively sound, ensuring that they work and are accessible for our customers. More information on tribunals can be found here.

Click here for the overview of all changes introduced by the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020.

Click here for more details on how the new legislation affects ending a tenancy and notices of termination.

Click here for more details on how the new legislation affects rent reviews.

Click here for more details on how the new legislation affects Student Specific Accommodation.

Click the links for more details on the DEASP COVID-19 income supports and Rent Supplement available for landlords and tenants during the emergency period.

Click here for more details on the RTB’s services during the emergency period.