Summary Difference between the processes: 

Dispute Resolution (https://www.rtb.ie/dispute-resolution)

  • Facilitates the resolution of disputes between parties.
  • Landlord/ tenant/ third party directly affected lodges a dispute application.
  • Other party will always know who raised the dispute.
  • Adjudicator Awards damages and makes orders to action.
  • Damages awarded paid to case parties.
  • Can deal with wide variety of tenancy issues.
  • RTB confirms outcome (Determination Order), possible enforcement 

VS 

Investigations & Sanctions (https://www.rtb.ie/legislation-change/investigations-and-sanctions)

  • If a landlord is found to have breached the legislation, a Sanction can be applied of a caution, a €15,000 fine and/or costs of up to €15,000​.
  • No orders can be made for a landlord/ tenant to take action.
  • The RTB can look for improper conducts without needing information from the public and can start an investigation on its own volition.
  • Anyone can submit a concern or a complaint to to Investigations and Sanctions - a concern raiser can call in to an unrecorded line. 
  • The investigation is commenced by the RTB and NOT by the complainant/ concern raiser.
  • Confined to 9 specific rental law breaches called Improper Conducts.
  • Sanctions fines paid to the exchequer rather than the concern raiser/complainant​.
  • All sanctions must be confirmed in the Circuit Court.

 

What matters can be referred to the RTB for dispute resolution?  

The following matters can be referred to the RTB for dispute resolution:  

  • The retention or refund of a deposit;

  • The amount of rent that should have been set;

  • Failure to give the correct rent review notice period and/or review the rent at the correct amount;

  • Failure by a tenant to comply with his/ her obligations; 

  • Failure by a landlord to comply with his/ her obligations;

  • A landlord has sought to terminate a tenancy for a reason outside one of the six grounds for termination in a Part 4 tenancy;

  • Where a reason given for terminating a tenancy was invalid or the notice used to terminate the tenancy did not comply with the Act or no notice was served; 

  • Failure to give the correct notice period to end a tenancy;

  • A tenant fails to serve a Notice of Termination and vacates the dwelling concerned; 

  • A failure by the tenant or occupant to vacate the dwelling after receiving a valid Notice of Termination;

  • A failure by a subtenant to vacate the dwelling after receiving a valid Notice of Termination;

  • A claim for the recovery of costs and/or damages by a landlord or tenant as a result of failing to comply with his/her obligations as outlined in the tenancy agreement;

  • A claim for the recovery of costs and/or damages by a landlord or tenant for ending a tenancy which is not in accordance with the Act.  

What can Investigations and Sanctions investigate? 

Investigations and Sanctions can investigate 9 types of breaches of rental law. These 9 breaches are called improper conducts and they include: 

  •  raising the rent above the legal amount in a rent pressure zone;

  • knowingly citing a false or misleading reason for ending a tenancy in a Notice of Termination;

  • falsely claiming an exemption to RPZ requirements;

  • failure to offer a tenant their tenancy back when required to;  

  • seeking a deposit or advance rent of more than legally allowed;  

  • failure to provide the RTB with updates to the tenancy information or rent exemption forms when necessary; 

  • and failure to register a tenancy within one month of the tenancy commencing.  

The full list of improper conducts and more information on them can be found here

If the issue you have experienced is NOT one of these 9 improper conducts, Investigations & Sanctions cannot investigate it but it may still be open to you to apply for dispute resolution.

The Investigations and Sanction Powers of the RTB commenced on 1st July 2019 so the RTB cannot investigate improper conduct which occurred before this date.

 

When should you submit an application for Dispute Resolution Services? 

  • If you are a landlord looking to resolve an issue in a current or previous tenancy 

  • If you are a third party directly affected by the issues you want to resolve e.g. anti-social behaviour 

  • If you are a tenant in the property who believes you have been served an invalid Notice of Termination or rent review 

  • A Notice of Termination or a rent review that has been disputed through the Dispute resolution process cannot come into effect until the process is completed  An investigation by the Investigations and Sanctions unit will NOT halt the progress of a NoT or rent review.  

  • Tenant’s have until the rent has become payable (must be at least 90 days after date of service of notice) or 28-days from receipt of the rent review to dispute a Rent Review Notice, whichever is longer, so it is important that they contact the right department as soon as possible.

  • If you have experienced an illegal eviction 

  • If you want a legally binding Order at the end of the process which orders one or both parties to take an action eg return overpaid rent or a deposit, pay rent arrears, vacate a property or allow a tenant to remain in the tenancy.

  • If the issue is not one of the improper conducts. A list of the most common issues that the Dispute Resolution service can resolve is below  

  • Deposit retention 

  • Rent arrears  

  • Overholding 

  • Invalid Notice of Termination/ failure to serve a notice 

  • Breach of landlord/ tenant obligation e.g. property maintenance 

  • Anti-social behavior  

When should you submit information to Investigations and Sanctions? 

  • If the issue is one of the 9 improper conducts that can be investigated and it took place after 1st July.
  • If the issue would not be more beneficially resolved by the Dispute Resolution process, for example if you are a tenant who believes they have been served a Notice of Termination or Rent review and you are still in the property, it will be more beneficial to apply for dispute resolution for the reasons set out above.
  • If you are a third party who is aware that one of the 9 improper conducts has taken place but you are not directly affected by it (e.g. if you are aware that a landlord is charging more than is allowed in a tenancy that you are not a party to).  
  • If you have reason, supported by information you possess,  to believe that an improper conduct has taken place eg if you were a previous tenant and you are aware that the subsequent tenancy to yours is being charged more than is legal in rent because you have spoken to the new tenants   

  • A tenant whose interests are better served in the Dispute Resolution Process will be given the information to apply for Dispute Resolution  

  • If any Dispute on the same or other issues in the same tenancy is concluded. We will try to avoid situations where a Dispute Resolution case and an Investigation are running which involve the same people at the same time as this can delay or cause problems in the Dispute Resolution Process   (exception for non-registration as this cannot be dealt with by Dispute Resolution)