The RTB Publishes First 29 Sanctions under its Investigations and Sanctions Function
- 28 out of 29 sanctions are for breach of Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) rent review restrictions.
- Over a quarter of a million euro in overcharged rent has been returned to tenants by landlords & over twenty thousand euro in sanctions has been paid by landlords to the exchequer to date, as a result of investigations conducted by the RTB’s Investigations and Sanctions unit
- The RTB strongly encourages landlords to check their tenancy details are up to date with the RTB and to confirm that the rent increases they have carried out are in line with latest legislation.
December 9th 2021: Today, the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has published particulars of the first 29 sanctions imposed on landlords under the RTB’s Investigations and Sanctions function.
A dedicated webpage where all sanctions are published has been set up here.
The 29 sanctions published today were the first to be confirmed by the Circuit Court.
The landlords in these cases opted to acknowledge the alleged improper conduct at the beginning of the investigation. By taking this approach, the landlord speeds up the process and demonstrates that they are co-operating with the investigation. This is taken into consideration by the Decision Maker, along with any steps taken by the landlord to rectify the breach of rental law, when they are deciding on the type of sanction and the amount of any monetary sanction.
Milestone for the RTB
This is an important milestone for the RTB in the implementation of significant new powers given to it with the expansion of its regulatory role. These powers allow the RTB to take action and investigate when it appears that a landlord has committed one of the breaches of tenancy law called improper conducts.
Some of the improper conducts that can be investigated include:
- failure to comply with Rent Pressure Zone (RPZ) legislation by unlawfully raising the rent above the amount allowed;
- failure to offer a tenancy which was ended back to a tenant when the conditions set out in the legislation have been met;
- failure to register or update a tenancy; and
- citing a reason for termination in a Notice of Termination that is false or misleading and is known to be so by the landlord.
If a landlord has committed an improper conduct, they can be sanctioned by an independent Decision Maker with a written caution and/or a monetary sanction up to €15,000 and/or costs up to €15,000.
All sanctions must be confirmed by the Circuit Court and all sanctions are paid to the exchequer.
For the full list of improper conducts that can be investigated and more information on them please click here.
Rent Pressure Zone Restrictions
Since establishing its new powers, the RTB's Investigations and Sanctions Unit has prioritised allegations of breach of RPZ restrictions. This is evidenced by the fact that 28 out of the 29 sanctions published today were for breach of RPZ regulations and that 90% of the investigations commenced to date have been for the same breach.
As a direct result of the investigations conducted by the Investigations and Sanctions Unit:
- Over a quarter of a million euro in overcharged rent has been returned to tenants by landlords.
- The rents in these cases have also been reset to amounts in compliance with the legislation preventing these, and any future tenants, from being overcharged.
- Over twenty thousand euro has been paid to the exchequer by landlords in sanctions imposed by Decision Makers.
The RTB will continue to publish sanctions that have been confirmed by the Circuit Court once all legal and administrative procedures have been completed on an ongoing basis.
Landlords encouraged to check they are complying with rental law
The RTB strongly encourages landlords to ensure they are complying with rental law and keeping the details of their tenancies up to date with the RTB. Please visit www.rtb.ie regularly for all the latest information on the latest on the rental legislation.
All landlords should carry out the following checks to ensure they are compliant:
- Check that all your tenancies are registered. If any tenancies are not registered, register them immediately.
RTB online accounts have changed. Please click here where you will find full details to assist you with the process of creating your RTB account and linking your tenancies.
- Check the details on all your tenancies and correct them if necessary.
- Ensure that any rent changes are notified to the RTB within a month of the new rent taking effect using your RTB online account here.
- Check if your rental property is in a designated RPZ and check that any rent increases that you have carried out are within the legal guidelines using the correct RPZ Calculators:
For rents reviewed before 16 July 2021 please use the RPZ Calculator here.
For rents reviewed on or after 16 July 2021 please use the RPZ Calculator here.
- If you have raised the rent above the amount allowed on the RPZ Calculators, check if the criteria for RPZ exemption applies to you and submit a RPZ Exemption Form to the RTB, if necessary. Please click here for more information.
- If you have raised the rent above the amount allowed on the RPZ Calculators, and you don’t meet the criteria for a RPZ Exemption, arrange to reset the rent to the correct amount, refund any overpaid rent to the tenants and update the tenancy registration with the new rent.
Reporting potential breaches to the RTB
If you are aware of a potential breach by a landlord of rental law you can bring it to the attention of the Investigations and Sanctions Unit. For more information on how to report a potential breach please click here.
The Investigations and Sanctions Unit can start an investigation either as a result of information received from members of the public or as a result of information gathered from records that the RTB has access to under the Residential Tenancies Act, for example the register of tenancies, information received under data sharing agreements with other government bodies as well as open-source data such as rental websites.
If rental law has not been complied with you may be subject to enforcement action by the RTB including, investigation and potential sanction.