The RTB encourages tenants and landlords to discuss problems promptly, keep lines of communication open and respect each other’s positions. If the problem cannot be resolved registered landlords and all tenants can apply to the RTB for dispute resolution.
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 is usually done by telephone, which is a faster and more convenient option. 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. 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.
A further service offered by the RTB is 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. Adjudication hearings are currently taking place virtually via MS Teams. 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.
For more information on the RTB dispute resolution service, please visit the RTB website here.
Investigations and Sanctions
The RTB has an Investigations and Sanctions unit dedicated to investigating certain potential breaches of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 by a landlord. The breaches of the law that the RTB can investigate are referred to as an “Improper Conduct”. The new legislation has expanded the types of Improper Conducts that the RTB can investigate, to include where a landlord does not comply with the new RPZ rent increase restriction. If it is found that a landlord has engaged in Improper Conduct, a sanction of a written caution and/or a sanction of up to €15,000 and a further €15,000 in costs can be imposed by an independent Decision Maker on the landlord.
For further information on what can be investigated and how to inform the RTB of potential Improper Conduct please click here