On the 26th February 2018, the enforcement of RTB Determination Orders moved from the Circuit Court to the District Court. As there are more District Courts nationwide which sit more often than the Circuit Court, this will provide for quicker access to the Courts at a significantly reduced cost.
Enforcement is an important function of the Residential Tenancies Board. When landlords, tenants and third parties access the RTB dispute resolution service through mediation, adjudication or tribunal, they receive a legally binding Determination Order. The majority of these are complied with but where they are not, the RTB takes non compliance with Determination Orders very seriously. This move from the Circuit to the District Court is therefore an important and welcome change in terms of trying to address these issues more quickly.
What to do if a Determination Order is not complied with?
If an order is not complied with, there are two options for enforcement.
1- You can request Legal Assistance from the RTB to enforce an Order in the District Court through the Legal Assistance Programme. In order to provide legal assistance to people enforcing Determination Orders in the District Court, the RTB has set up a panel of Solicitors, local to each District Court, who have agreed to enforce orders on their behalf. the RTB is given a budget each year to provide assistance to those seeking to enforce its Orders, and it assists as many as possible within this budget, but cannot provide assistance to all who request it. One of the reasons for moving to the District Court was to help lower the cost of enforcement. While the budget for RTB activities is still limited, it is expected that by reducing the cost of enforcement proceedings by changing to the District Court, the RTB will be able to provide legal assistance in a higher number of cases.
If you wish to make an application to access this program, you can find more information and download a form here.
Requests for Legal Assistance in urgent cases are prioritised. This includes cases concerning overholding, serious rent arrears, the non-return of deposits, and unlawful termination.
2-You can take your own enforcement proceedings in the Court. In order to support parties who wish to take their own enforcement proceedings, the RTB have developed a step-by-step guide to the new process in the District Court which can be downloaded here.
The RTB will take a large amount of the requested enforcement cases, but it does not have the budget to take them all. To help lower the cost of enforcement for the RTB, the RTB has created new way of supporting enforcement cases by creating a panel of solicitors who will take enforcement proceedings on behalf of the RTB. While the budget for RTB activities is limited, it is expected that by reducing the cost of enforcement proceedings and by the change to the District Court this will allow the RTB to provide legal assistance in a higher number of cases. If you wish to request the RTB to provide assistance to you to pursue enforcement you can email email@example.com to request an application form. Decisions on urgent cases are prioritised first, these includes cases concerning overholding, serious rent arrears, non return of deposits and unlawful termination.
What if you have an existing case going through the Circuit Court?
The District court will be responsible for all new enforcement cases from the 26th February. If you already have a scheduled date for enforcement within the Circuit Court this should go ahead as planned in the Circuit Court. All other cases will be dealt with in your local District Court.