This site uses cookies

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing to use the site you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more...

News

MINISTER EXTENDS RENT PRESSURE ZONES TO 12 ADDITIONAL LOCAL ELECTORAL AREAS

Jan 27, 2017

Minister Simon Coveney has announced the extension of Rent Pressure Zones beyond those introduced for Dublin and Cork cities in December 2016. Analysis of rental data by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), has identified the following Local Electoral Areas (LEA’s) as Rent Pressure Zones with effect from today, Friday, 27 January 2017:

  1. Ballincollig-Carrigaline, Co Cork
  2. Galway City Central
  3. Galway City East
  4. Galway City West
  5. Celbridge-Leixlip, Co Kildare
  6. Naas, Co Kildare
  7. Kildare-Newbridge
  8. Ashbourne Co Meath
  9. Laytown-Bettystown, Co Meath
  10. Ratoath, Co Meath
  11. Bray , Co Wicklow
  12. Wicklow, Co Wicklow
There are 26 towns included in these Local Electoral Areas including, Sallins, Rathagan, Slane, Julianstown, Duleek, Dunboyne, Dunshaughlin, Enniskerry, Douglas and Passage West.

Rent Predictability Measures are the new provisions enacted under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the “2016 Act”) that are intended to moderate the rise in rents in the parts of the country where rents are highest and rising, and in areas where households have the greatest difficulty finding accommodation they can afford.  In these areas, called Rent Pressure Zones (“RPZ”), rents will only be able to rise up to a maximum of 4% per annum.

What is the role of the RTB in relation to these measures?

Outlining the process, the Director of the RTB, Ms. Rosalind Carroll, said that the Housing Agency, “following consultation with the Local Authority concerned, proposed a number of areas to the Minister for consideration. The Minister then requested the RTB, which collects and monitors the data on rents, to assess whether the relevant criteria applied to these areas using the rent information that informs the RTB’s quarterly Rent Index. The RTB confirmed to the Minister that out of the 15 LEA’s referred by the Housing Agency 12 have met the criteria set down in the recent legislation. The 3 areas that did not qualify were Greystones, Cobh and Maynooth.”

“To qualify as a Rent Pressure Zone, the average rent of an area must be above the national rent of €973 and have demonstrated high levels of rent inflation in accordance with the legislation. The addition of these 12 LEA’s will mean that approximately 55% of the population in rental accommodation are now renting within a Rent Pressure Zone. No other referrals have been made to the RTB and it is understood that the Housing Agency do not propose any other areas for consideration as Rent Pressure Zones at this time”, added Ms. Carroll.   

The criteria for designating an area as a Rent Pressure Zone are:

  • The annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters, and
  • The average rent for tenancies registered with the RTB in the previous quarter must be above the average national rent in the quarter (the National Standard Rent in the RTB’s Rent Index Report). This was €973 in the last published quarter of the Rent Index, Q3 2016.

Not all rental properties in Rent Pressure Zones are covered by the 4% annual rental restriction. Properties that have not been let at any time in the previous two years, and properties which have been substantially refurbished, can be exempted from the measure. However, the pre-existing requirement that the rent set for a property must be in line with local market rents for similar properties in the area still applies.

A ‘substantial refurbishment’ must be a significant change to the dwelling resulting in increased market value of the tenancy. This would involve significant alterations or improvements which add to the letting value of the property; repainting or replacement of white goods would not be sufficient.

For landlords of all new tenancies within the Rent Pressure Zones that commenced on or after 24th December last, they are entitled to review the rent annually. And where rent reviews take place annually the permissible rent increase in each case will be up to a maximum of 4%. If, for example, a landlord opts to review the rent after 18 months (instead of one year) the allowable increase will be 6% (4 % per annum pro-rata for 1 ½ years).

Outside the Rent Pressure Zones, a landlord can only review the rent once in any 24 month period, and cannot review within 24 months of the commencement of the tenancy except in limited circumstances such as substantial refurbishment of the property which affects the letting value of the dwelling. The Residential Tenancies Act prohibits the landlord from setting a rent that is in excess of market rent.  If a landlord intends reviewing the rent, they must inform a tenant, in writing, of any review in rent 90 days before the new revised rent is due to take effect.  Landlords must show that the rent set is not above the local market rents for similar properties and three examples of rents for similar properties in the locality must be presented to demonstrate this.  A valid notice served by the landlord must be in the prescribed form which can be found at www.RTB.ie.

Market rent for properties situated outside of a Rent Pressure Zone is defined as a rent that a willing tenant not already in occupation would give and a willing landlord would take for the dwelling, having regard to other terms of the tenancy and the letting values of dwellings of a similar size, type and character to the dwelling and situated in a comparable area to that in which it is situated. 

Commenting on the wide range of changes that have been introduced, the RTB Director, Ms. Carroll, said that “security of tenure for both landlords and tenants is essential, if the rental sector is to be both an attractive option for tenants and a safe and viable investment choice for investors”.

She said that one of the overall aims of the new rental strategy is to move towards a situation where longer term tenancies are the norm.  To that end, she points out that among the reforms in the Government’s new legislative package tenancies of four years’ duration are now extended to six year tenancies.

“This will apply to all new tenancies that come into operation on or after 24th December 2016 which includes a Further Part 4 tenancy that comes into existence on or after 24th December 2016”. Landlords currently can terminate within the first six months of a tenancy without giving a reason. Once a Part 4 tenancy comes into existence it can only be terminated by using one of the following grounds, she added:

  • The tenant has failed to comply with the obligations of the tenancy (having first been notified, in writing, of the failure, and given an opportunity to remedy it.)
  • The landlord intends to sell the dwelling within the next 3 months
  • The dwelling is no longer suited to the needs of the occupying household
  • The landlord requires the dwelling for own or family member occupation
  • Vacant possession is required for substantial refurbishment of the dwelling
  • The landlord intends to change the use of the dwelling
Full story

Coveney Designates New Rent Pressure Zones

Jan 27, 2017

Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney, T.D., signed Orders today (26 January, 2017) designating 12 new LEA's as Rent Pressure Zones. These new LEA's are Ballingcollic - Carrigaline, Co. Cork; Galway City Central, East and West; Celbridge - Leixlip Co. Kildare; Naas, Co. Kildare; Kildare - Newbridge; Ashbourne, Co. Meath; Laytown- Bettystown, Co. Meath; Rathoath Co. Meath; Bray Co. Wicklow; and Wicklow. If you want to check if you are in an RPZ please use our rent calculator

Dublin and Cork City were designated as Rent Pressure Zones before Christmas.

The Orders take effect tomorrow, 27 January 2017.

Speaking today Minister Coveney said “in making these designations today, I am delivering on the commitment I gave when I published the rental strategy on 13 December.

At that time the only areas that met the qualifying criteria were Dublin and Cork. I indicated though that I would work with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) to ensure that more refined data was available to allow for more specific targeting of the measure to other areas of the country where severe pressures were being experienced.

We have made very significant progress in a short space of time to have this new system in place and to ensure that we can properly target this intervention towards those areas facing the most severe pressures. Over the medium term though, additional supply is the right way to address rental pressures.

We need now to ensure that the supply side response is strong and swift by implementing the full range of complementary supply measures contained in the rental strategy”.

Minister Coveney is signing the Orders today on foot of recommendations from the Residential Tenancies Board that found that the criteria for designation as RPZs had been met in 12 local electoral areas in Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Galway City and Cork County.

The Minister had asked the RTB to assess a list of areas submitted to him by the Housing Agency for possible designation. In consultation with local authorities, the Housing Agency looked at rental markets around the country to identify whether – on a preliminary view – other electoral areas outside of Dublin and Cork City should be considered for designation as rent pressure zones. They used data from the RTB and from commercial residential property letting websites for this first analysis. On the basis of this analysis, the Housing Agency recommended that a number of local electoral areas should be formally considered for designation by the RTB.

The Housing Agency submitted its list of areas for consideration earlier this week to Minister Coveney. The Minister then formally requested a rent zone report from the Director of the RTB.

Click Here for Maps of Designated Rent Pressure Zone.

Full story

Invitation to Landlords, Tenants, Agents and Representatives!

Jan 26, 2017

Information Seminar on the Residential Tenancies Acts and the recent changes introduced into Law.

The Residential Tenancies Board is pleased to invite stakeholders including Landlords, Tenants, third parties agents and representatives to an information seminar on Landlord and Tenant Law and recent changes introduced by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2016, including rent pressure zones. The seminar is aimed at housing practitioners working in the rental sector, property managers, landlord and tenant groups and representatives. The purpose of the seminar is to raise awareness and educate those involved and working in the rental sector of the rights and obligations of tenants and landlords and the new changes to the law.

Date: Thursday 9th February 2017

Time: 9.30am – 1.00pm

Location: The Gandon Suite North and Central, The O'Callaghan Davenport Hotel, 8-10 Merrion Street Lower, Dublin 2

Registration: Please register at https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/rtb-information-seminar-further-changes-to-policy-and-the-law-tickets-31411668145

We look forward to meeting you on the 9th February for what we are sure will be an interesting and interactive event!

Full story

Changes to Policy and the Law

Dec 23, 2016

Measures Introduced in line with the Rental Strategy

The Minister introduced a number of changes affecting both landlords and tenants as part of a rental strategy launched 13th December 2016. These aim to address issues such as rent predictability, security of tenure, streamlining the dispute resolution services and enhancing the role and powers of the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB). The cornerstone of this Rental Strategy was to give rent predictability to both landlords and tenants in areas that rents have increased rapidly. The long term vision for the rental sector is to deliver long-term affordable and high quality accommodation solutions that meet the differing needs of a diverse range of tenants, providing a secure, predictable investment environment for landlords and accommodation providers.

Rent Predictability Measures

The Rent Predictability Measure is a new provision that is intended to moderate the rise in rents in the parts of the country where rents are highest and rising - where households have greatest difficulties in finding accommodation they can afford.  In these areas, called Rent Pressure Zones, rents will only be able to rise by a maximum of 4% annually.  The measure will be applied immediately to Dublin and Cork city. It covers the 4 Dublin local authorities (Dublin City Council, South Dublin County Council, Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown County Council and Fingal County Council) and Cork City Council.

If your home or property falls within one of these local authority areas it is covered by the measure. 

Why have Dublin and Cork City been designated as Rent Pressure Zones?For an area to be designated a Rent Pressure Zone, rents in the area must be at a high level and they must be rising quickly, the criteria are:

  • The annual rate of rent inflation in the area must have been 7% or more in four of the last six quarters,
  • The average rent for tenancies registered with the Residential Tenancies Board in the previous quarter must be above the average national rent in the quarter( the National Indicative Rent in the RTB’s Rent Index Report)

The measure has been implemented immediately in Dublin and Cork City because they meet the above criteria for a Rent Pressure Zone.

Who decides what areas are Rent Pressure Zones? 
Rents are closely monitored and the Housing Agency, following consultation with the Local Authority concerned, may propose an area to the Minister for consideration. The Minister will ask the Residential Tenancies Board, which collects and monitors the data on rents, to assess whether the criteria apply to the area. If they do, the RTB will confirm that to the Minister and the Minister will make the relevant order.

Are all rental properties covered?
No, there are certain exceptions. Properties that are new to the rental market – i.e. properties that have not been let at any time in the previous two years – and properties which have been substantially refurbished can be exempted from the measure. However the existing requirement that the rent set for a property must be in line with local market rents for similar properties in the area still applies.

A ‘substantial refurbishment’ must be a significant change to the dwelling resulting in increased market value of the tenancy. Therefore this would involve significant alterations or improvements which add to the letting value of the property - usually involving major building works or works requiring planning permission. For example, simple repainting or replacement of white goods would not be sufficient.

If I want to raise the rent on my dwelling in a Rent Pressure Zone, what do I need to do?
Where a landlord is setting the rent in a Rent Pressure Zone the amount can not be greater than the amount determined by the below formula, the existing requirement that the rent set is not above the local market rents for similar properties still applies and three examples of rents for similar properties in the locality must be presented to demonstrate this.

R x (1 + 0.04 x t/m)
*please note that you should do your calculations working from right to left 

R = The amount of rent last set under a tenancy for the dwelling (the current rent amount)
=  The number of months between the date the current rent came in to effect and the date the new rent amount will come in to effect.
m = you must enter 24 OR 12

Landlord has not reviewed the rent in previous 24 months:
For tenancies that are already in existence a review is only permitted 24 months after the tenancy came in to existence or 24 months from the date the rent was last set. In this instance m = 24.
For this initial rent review after the 24 month period as specified above a maximum rent increase of 4% will apply.  (This amounts to 2% per annum applied pro-rata for the period since the rent was last increased).

Following on from this initial review after 24 months, a landlord is now entitled to review the rent every 12 months.

New tenancies from 24th December 2016
Landlords of all new tenancies within a Rent Pressure Zone commencing on or after 24th December 2016 are entitled to review the rent annually. In this instance m = 12.

If rent reviews take place annually the permissible rent increase in each case will be 4%. If, for example, a landlord opts to review the rent after 18 months (instead of one year) the allowable increase will be 6% (4 % per annum pro-rata for 1 ½ years).

 

More Information regarding Rent Predictability Measures can be found here http://www.rtb.ie/dispute-resolution/dispute-resolution/rent-reviews

Additional Requirement for New Tenancies in Rent Pressure Zone

In the case of a new tenancy in a rent pressure zone, a landlord is required to  furnish the tenant, in writing, with the following information at the commencement of the tenancy:

(i) The amount of rent that was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling;
(ii)The date the rent was last set under a tenancy for the dwelling;
(iii) A statement as to how the rent set under the tenancy of the dwelling has been calculated having regard to the rent pressure zone formula.

Supply

It’s envisaged the new system will not negatively impact either existing or new supply. To encourage additional investment into the market, the Minister had excluded new units and units vacant for over 2 years that will be put back into the market.

Rent Certainty Measures

Rent certainty measures will continue to apply until the next rent review is due to be carried out. Thereafter if the area is not in one of the rent pressure zone then the rent certainty measures will continue to exist, namely that the landlord cannot increase the rent greater than the market rent having given 90 days notice of the rent increase having sought three comparable properties advertised within the previous four week period

Security of Tenure

Security for both landlords and tenants is essential if the rental sector is to be both an attractive option for tenants and a safe and viable investment choice for investors. The rental strategy aims to move towards a situation where longer term tenancies are the norm. The legislation extends tenancies from 4 years to 6 year tenancies. This will apply to all new tenancies that come into operation after 24th December 2016 which includes a further Part 4 tenancy that come into existence after 24th December 2016. Landlords currently can terminate within the first six months of a tenancy without giving a reason.  Once a Part 4 tenancy comes into existence it can only be terminated by using one of the grounds listed below.

If a landlord wishes to stop a Further Part 4 tenancy coming into existence they may serve a notice during the Part 4 tenancy with the notice period given to the tenant expiring on or after the end of the tenancy.  A notice served in this way should provide a reason for termination but the reason does not need to be one of the grounds set out below.  To ensure the notice is valid it is best practice for the notice period given to end during the first six months of the Further Part 4 tenancy.

If a landlord wishes to terminate during the first six months of the Further Part 4 tenancy they may serve a notice during the first six months without providing a reason or needing to rely on one of the grounds below.  This method of termination will change soon and updates will be provided on our website.

  1. The tenant has failed to comply with the obligations of the tenancy (having first been notified, in writing, of the failure, and given an opportunity to remedy it.)
  2. The landlord intends to sell the dwelling within the next 3 months
  3. The dwelling is no longer suited to the needs of the occupying household
  4. The landlord requires the dwelling for own or family member occupation
  5. Vacant possession is required for substantial refurbishment of the dwelling
  6. The landlord intends to change the use of the dwelling

More Information regarding Notices of Termination can be found http://www.rtb.ie/dispute-resolution/dispute-resolution/sample-notices-of-termination

Example
Tenant is residing in the tenancy for duration of 4 years on 1 January 2017. From this date it currently is considered a new tenancy and called a further Part 4 tenancy. As this is a new tenancy, after the 6 months probationary timeline in which a landlord can terminate the tenancy without giving reason, the tenant becomes entitled to remain in that tenancy for a total of 6 years unless a landlord wishes to terminate the tenancy for the above listed grounds.

Publication of Dispute Timelines

The Board will now be required by law to publish statistics, including average dispute resolution timelines on a quarterly basis

Full story

Strategy for the Rental Sector launched today 13th Dec 2016 by Minister Simon Coveney

Dec 13, 2016

Mr. Simon Coveney T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government and Mr. Damien English T.D., Minister of State for responsibility for Housing and Urban Renewal today launched the ‘Strategy for the Rental Sector’. Please find below links for the strategy document and the accompanying press release:

 1. Strategy for the Rental Sector Press Release 

 2. Strategy for the Rental Sector booklet

Full story

Two landlords ordered to pay €17,300 in Court fines and legal costs for failing to register tenancies

Nov 30, 2016

Residential Tenancies Board secured convictions against landlords

Wednesday 30th November 2016: The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has secured convictions against two landlords who have previously been convicted for failing to register their tenancies and have now been ordered to pay a total of €17,300 in Court fines and legal costs.

Frank Chatham of 4 Arch Villas, Greystones, County Wicklow was convicted on four counts for failing to register four tenancies.  Dereck Doherty of 12 Grangemore Court, Donaghmede, Dublin 13 was convicted on one count for failing to register a tenancy in Church Road.

While Mr Chatham did not attend Court, Mr. Justice Brennan was satisfied that Mr Chatham was on notice of the Court case. Mr. Justice Brennan also noted that the RTB had gone to great lengths to afford Mr Chatham every opportunity to engage with them and register the tenancies.

Judge Brennan convicted Mr Chatham of an offence under Section 144(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and imposed a fine of €500 in each separate case  for failure to register two tenancies in Dorset Street and one tenancy in Swords. The tenancies were not registered at the time of the court hearing. An additional fine of €300 was imposed for failure to register a tenancy in North Circular Road, this tenancy had been registered prior to the hearing which resulted in a lesser fine. Judge Brennan further made an Order for costs against Mr Chatham in favour of the RTB in the amount of €2,500 plus VAT in each separate case. 

Mr. Justice Brennan also convicted Dereck Doherty for failure to register a tenancy in Church Road. Justice Brennan having reviewed the papers and hearing evidence from a representative of the RTB was satisfied that Mr Doherty was guilty of an offence under Section 144(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and imposed a fine of €3,000 for failure to register the tenancy. Costs were also awarded in favour of the RTB  in the amount of €2,500 plus VAT.

The rental housing sector provides homes to one in five households in Ireland. This includes over 100,000 households who are supported by State supported schemes such as Rent Supplement, Housing Assistance Programme or the Rental Accommodation Scheme

“Regulation in the rental housing sector is of upmost importance and registration is the first step in that process.  The Residential Tenancies Act has been in place for over 12 years now and it is just not acceptable that a minority of Landlords attempt to operate outside the law, despite several official communications setting out clearly what their obligations are and what the consequences for not registering may be.

It is particularly disappointing that landlords who were previously convicted for failing to register tenancies would again come to our attention.  The RTB provides every opportunity to landlords to engage so that they do not end up with a conviction and having to pay substantial fines and legal costs.  Since 2013 the RTB has secured 69 criminal convictions against landlords who fail to register their tenancies despite every opportunity been afforded to them”, commented  RTB Assistant Director, Ms Kathryn Ward.

The RTB maintain a published register of all registered tenancies and this register is a very important part of regulation of the sector. The register is provided to Revenue for the purpose of facilitating tax compliance in rental income and the Department of Social Protection for fraud detection.

The published register of all registered tenancies is available on the registration homepage of the RTB website www.rtb.ie and any tenancy suspected of being unregistered can be reported by any member of the public to the RTB which will take steps to investigate the matter.

 

 

Full story

USI and RTB launch the Finance and Accommodation Guide to prep new Students for College

Aug 30, 2016

The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) will be launching the 2016 Finance and Accommodation guide in Maynooth University Students’ Union on Tuesday the 30th August at 9:15am in preparation for students coming to college. The guide details the rights and obligations students have while renting in accommodation and includes tips and advice for students who may be renting for the first time. It also informs students on the new tenancies regulations set by the Residential Tenancy Act 2015.

The guide has a rent book and inventory checklist included, so students can record any damages or missing utensils at the start of the lease, and not be penalised unfairly on their deposit. The guide also provides information on finance and gives budgeting tips for students to financially manage the college year. 

“USI is delighted to be launching the 2016 Finance and Accommodation guide with the RTB.” Annie Hoey, USI President, said. “It will really help students, especially those moving away from home for the first time, with tips on finding accommodation, what to do once you’ve found the accommodation, and what to do to organise yourself before starting college.”

USI is urging students to do their best to sort out accommodation in advance and move in a couple of days before starting college so that they are familiar with the area and local surroundings including bus routes, local facilities, supermarkets, etc.

“The Residential Tenancies Board publishes the most accurate nationwide rent report of its kind on the private accommodation sector, because it’s based on actual rents received, not rent sought.” Dillon Grace, Maynooth Students’ Union President, said. “The Finance and Accommodation guide will inform students on everything they need to know in these areas, from legal rights to practical tips.”

Speaking at the launch, Ms. Rosalind Carroll, Director of the RTB, said - “This is a valuable guide for all students, especially first-years. It is important that students renting accommodation are aware of their rights and responsibilities, and that they are aware of and use the services of the Residential Tenancies Board if a dispute arises. The guide provides lots of helpful information on finding rented accommodation, viewing and moving in to properties, and ending tenancies.  All tenants and prospective tenants are also urged to go to our website, www.rtb.ie which provides extensive information for both tenants and landlords, including information on our disputes resolution service. For further information, call the RTB on 0818 30 30 37”.

Once students find somewhere they like, USI is advising them to ring it to arrange a viewing as soon as they can. The union is also advising students not to hand over money until they receive the keys and the tenancy begins, if at all possible. USI is also urging students to transfer money electronically as it is traceable, or if they have to pay by cash to make sure they always get a receipt. USI said there is a lot of useful accommodation hunting websites online such as Daft.ie for renting, or homes.usi.ie for digs.

“We are encouraging students to ‘like’ their Students’ Union and College page on Facebook and Twitter for information on upcoming events, entertainments and promotions.” USI President, Annie Hoey, said. “We are also advising students to get the phone numbers for a few taxi companies, the college switchboard, college health and medical centre, chaplain, local emergency services and Students’ Union officers.”

Please find attached the full guide.
Full story

Two Landlords Receive Criminal Convictions and €8,000 in fines and costs for Failing to Register their Tenancies with the Residential Tenancies Board

May 13, 2016

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) has secured criminal convictions against two Landlords who failed to register their tenancies, despite receiving a number of Statutory Notices and warning letters instructing them to do so. 

In the first case proceedings were taken against Eileen Maguire of Ballydevitt, Donegal Town, Donegal for failing to register a tenancy at Ballydevitt, Donegal. The case was heard by Judge John O’Neill on 4 April  2016. 

Counsel for the RTB informed the Court that the RTB sent two notices pursuant to Section 144 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to Ms Maguire calling on her to comply with the legislation. As Ms Maguire failed to register the tenancy, Eversheds, the RTB’s Solicitors, sent two further warning letters prior to the institution of proceedings, thereby affording Ms Maguire further opportunities to register the tenancy, which was not availed of.

Judge John O’Neill convicted Ms Maguire of an offence under Section 144(3) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and imposed a fine of €1,000.00. Judge O’Neill further made an Order for costs against Ms Maguire in favour of the RTB in the amount of €2,500 plus VAT. The tenancy was registered at the time of the court hearing.

In the second case Andrew Oliver Fleming of 103 Tymon Crescent, Old Bawn, Tallaght, Dublin 24 was convicted for failing to register a tenancy at 103 Tymon Crescent, Old Bawn, Tallaght, Dublin 24. Judge O’Neill imposed a fine of €1,000 and made an Order for costs in favour of the RTB in the amount of €2,500 plus VAT. The tenancy was registered at the time of the court hearing.

Judge O’ Neill remarked that in prosecuting cases the RTB are very “fair” and give Landlords “plenty of time to put their house in order”. 

The RTB continues to pursue Landlords for failing to register their tenancies, as required by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. The RTB has confirmed that further cases will be brought before the Courts throughout 2016 and beyond against landlords for failing to register tenancies in breach of the Act. 22,854  letters were issued by the RTB in 2015 notifying Landlords of their specific registration requirement. Since 1 January 2011, the fee is €90.00 per tenancy if registered within one month of the tenancy commencing and,  a late fee of €180.00 applies if the tenancy is registered outside of that time period. The registration fees also fund Local Authority inspections of rental accommodation to enforce minimum standards.

In accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 the RTB is provided with information by local authorities and the Department of Social Protection as regards tenancies which are known to exist. Referrals are also received from other sources including Members of the Public, Elected Representatives and Members of an Garda Siochana.

The rental housing sector provides homes to one in five households in Ireland. This includes over 100,000 households who are supported by State supported schemes such as Rent Supplement, Housing Assistance Programme or the Rental Accommodation Scheme. It is important that the sector is well regulated and registration is the first step in that process.

The Residential Tenancies Act has been in place for over ten years now. It is not acceptable that a minority of Landlords attempt to operate outside the law, despite several official communications setting out clearly what their obligations are and what the consequences for not registering may be.

The RTB has engaged in joined up Government with other Public Sector bodies such as the Department of Social Protection and Local Authorities and uses sophisticated software to identify unregistered Landlords. In the past three years alone we have corresponded with over 85,000 Landlords (33,793 in 2013,29,256 in 2014 and 22,854 in 2015) notifying them of their requirement to register.   As with the landlords  most recently convicted we afford several opportunities to comply with the legislation and register. Where those opportunities are not availed of our policy is to pursue prosecutions. Since 2013 we have taken proceedings resulting in 49 criminal convictions.” said RTB Assistant Director Kathryn Ward.”

A landlord, if convicted under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 for failing to comply with a notice, faces a fine of up to €4,000 and/or six months imprisonment, along with a daily fine of €250 for a continuing offence, i.e. where the tenancy continues to remain unregistered after the court hearing.

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), formerly the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), was established in 2004.  It currently has 324,000 tenancies registered representing, 172,000 landlords and 705,000 occupants. Its remit is to regulate and support the rental housing market. The remit has just recently been extended to include Approved Housing Bodies (hence the name change, which are not-for-profit housing providers or housing associations and provide housing for about 30,000 tenants. 

The RTB maintain a published register of all registered tenancies and this register is a very important part of regulation of the sector. The register is provided to Revenue for the purpose of facilitating tax compliance in rental income and the Department of Social Protection for fraud detection.

The published register of all registered tenancies is available on the registration homepage of the RTB website www.rtb.ie and any tenancy suspected of being unregistered can be reported by any member of the public to the PRTB which will take steps to investigate the matter.

Full story

 

 

 

NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE LEGISLATION EFFECTIVE FROM 7TH APRIL 2016

Apr 08, 2016

Renaming of the Private Residential Tenancies Board
The role of the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) has being expanded from 7th April 2016. Approved Housing Bodies will be brought under its remit, meaning that tenants and landlords of Approved Housing Bodies often referred to housing associations  will also be able to access the dispute resolution services of the Board. Consequently the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB)  is now called the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).

Approved Housing Bodies

All Approved Housing Bodies tenants will have access to the dispute resolution services of the RTB, via mediation or adjudication, which were previously only available to private sector tenancies.

Approved Housing Bodies  (include Housing Associations and Co-operatives) provide and manage social rented housing. They are not for profit organisations formed for the purpose of relieving housing need.

Under Section 6 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1992, bodies must obtain ‘approved status’ from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government. A body seeking to obtain, and to retain, approved status must have the following -

  •  As a primary objective,  to relieve the housing need, or poverty or hardship or the welfare of Travellers, and the provision and management of housing,
  • In its memorandum of association or registered rules, provisions prohibiting the distribution of any surplus, profit, bonus or dividend to members and requiring that the assets of the body be applied solely towards its objects.

There are over  500 Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland with a stock size of over 30,000 units. Approved Housing Bodies provide housing in response to a range of different needs including families on low incomes, households with special needs, such as older persons, people with disabilities and homeless persons. They work in partnership with Local Authorities and take nominations from the Local Authority's social housing waiting list to fill available accommodation provided by the Approved Housing Bodies.

Requirement to Register

As and from 7th April 2016   Approved Housing Bodies will be required to register all their tenancies within 12 months of this date. Registrations can be done online at www.rtb.ie or alternatively by requesting a paper form from our customer call centre at 0818 30 30 37. The registrations will be at a reduced fee for this 12-month period only. Housing Associations will be charged €45 for each tenancy registration, for a period of 12 months only, beginning from today.  After the 12 month period normal fees (€90)  and penalties will apply for all registrations.

Dispute Resolution

If a tenant or landlord feel that their rights have been breached or the other party has not fulfilled their obligations they may lodge a dispute with the RTB. This can be done online at www.rtb.ie or by paper application requested by phone, 0818 30 30 37. The RTB has a useful good landlord / tenant guide that is available at the below links;

Good Landlord Guide

http://rtb.ie/landlords/rights-responsibilities-obligations/good-landlord-guide

Good Tenant Guide

http://rtb.ie/tenants/rights-responsibilities-obligations/good-tenant-guide

Differences in the Residential Tenancies Act for Approved Housing Bodies Tenancies

There are a number of small differences in the rights and obligations of AHB tenants and landlords.

The following differences apply for Approved Housing Bodies in comparison to private rented dwellings;

  1. Approved Housing Bodies  tenants are not permitted to assign or sublet the tenancy 
  2. Approved Housing Bodies carry out rent reviews in accordance with the tenancy agreement. Where there is no tenancy agreement, a rent review can be carried out once per year. The Approved Housing Bodies landlord is required to send a notice of rent review as soon as practicable.
  3. A tenant gains “Part IV tenant rights” when they are in a tenancy for longer than 6 months. This in essence means that once a tenant remains in the tenancy for over 6 months they gain an automatic security to remain in that tenancy for a minimum of 4 years. The tenancy can only be terminated on certain grounds under Section 34 of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 including;

a. The tenant has failed to comply with their obligations
b. The landlord intends to sell the dwelling within the next 3 months
c. The dwelling is no longer suited to the needs of the occupying household
d. The landlord requires the dwelling for own or fmaily member occupation.
e. substantial refurbishment of the dwelling
f. change the use of the dwelling

Tenants living in accommodation which has been categorised as ‘transitional’ and where the tenancy is for no longer that 18 months will not gain the benefit of Part 4 rights therefore Section 34 grounds do not apply. The landlords right to terminate a Part IV tenancy for the reason that he or she requires the dwelling for own or family member occupation is not applicable to transitional dwellings.

     4. Article 8 of the minimum standards does not apply to Approved Housing Bodies.  The minimum standards regarding food preparation, storage and laundry purposes do not apply to Approved Housing Bodies. Therefore Approved Housing Bodies do not have to provide white goods such as washing machines etc.  All of the other regulations apply to Approved Housing Bodies.

 Dispute Process

Approved Housing Bodies Landlord and Tenants will be entitled to avail of the Dispute Resolution Service. The RTB operate a two stage dispute resolution process. The first stage consists of either mediation, if chosen by both parties, or adjudication. The PRTB are now offering a new free Mediation service and have recently introduced Telephone Mediation where a Mediator works separately with each party to reach a mutually acceptable resolution over a usually short period of time.  Parties can reach an agreement in the convenience of their own home. This confidential service has had a 93% success rate and because parties have come to their own agreement they tend to comply with the agreement.

The fee for Adjudication is €15 for online applications and €25 for paper applications.  Adjudication is where the parties submit their application and evidence to back up their claim. They will then attend the adjudication and present their case and evidence. Evidence can include Lease agreements, photographs, inventories carried out, invoices or receipts for damages to the property etc. An independent Adjudicator will make a decision based on the law, the facts and evidential basis of the claim.

Either party has a right to appeal their case to tribunal hearing. Approximately 12% of adjudication applications and 8% of mediation applications are appealed.  A Tribunal is a three person hearing on the matter similar to the adjudication. New measures have been introduced to shorten the timeline of the tribunal stage if either party requests on grounds of financial or other hardship. 

Full story

Approved Housing Body Landlords & Tenants to Benefit from Legislative Protections

Apr 01, 2016

NEW DIRECTOR APPOINTED TO PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL TENANCIES BOARD

During April, the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) will change to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), bringing Approved Housing Bodies under its remit.

Approved Housing Bodies are not for profit housing providers, often referred to as housing associations, who provide accommodation for those in need. This new change will ensure that both tenants and landlords of these properties will be afforded protection under the Residential Tenancies Acts and will be able to access the disputes resolution services of the RTB.   

According to the 2011 Census, nearly 1 in 5 households in the country were renting their accommodation in the private sector, and that number is estimated to have increased since then.In addition, there over 30,000 tenants in the Approved Housing Body Sector.

Ms Rosalind Carroll has been appointed as the new Director of the PRTB. Ms. Carroll, was formerly Head of Regulation of Approved Housing Bodies at the Housing Agency, which was set up in 2010 by government to support local authorities; approved housing bodies, and the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, in the delivery of housing and housing services.

Ms Carroll has considerable experience in the housing sector, having previously worked in the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and Dublin City Council.

She holds a Master’s from the London School of Economics and has qualifications in Regulation. She takes up her new post on April 4th next, and the appointment is for a period of five years.

Ms Carroll succeeds Ms. Anne Marie Caulfield, who had served as Director since July 2008, and  recently decided to step down to take up a position at the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Full story