Residential Tenancies Board
The Residential Tenancies Board was set up under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. It was formerly called the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) but its name was changed to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) on 7 April 2016, when approved housing bodies (generally known as housing associations) were brought under its remit by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.
The RTB's main functions are:
- Maintaining a register of private residential tenancies and tenancies of approved housing bodies
- Providing a dispute resolution service for tenants and landlords (including approved housing bodies)
- Carrying out research into the private rented sector
It also provides policy advice to the Government on the private rented sector.
On 23 November 2017, the RTB published new guidelines for landlords and tenants (pdf). These detailed guidelines explain what counts as "substantial change” to a rented property to allow a landlord to exceed the cap on rent increases in a Rent Pressure Zone. This cap (4% per year) can only be exceeded if significant changes have been made to the property.
The guidelines also cover what counts as “substantial refurbishment” for the purposes of ending a Part 4 tenancy. A tenancy can only be ended on this ground if the proposed works are substantial and require the property to be vacated.
The RTB has also announced a new one-stop shop website with a webchat facility. It has also extended its opening hours.
Residential Tenancies Acts
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2016 deal with the regulation of the mainstream private rented housing sector and the approved housing body sector. They set out the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants in these sectors. They do not apply to certain types of rented property – see ‘Exclusions from scope of Acts’ below.
Services provided by the RTB
Registration of tenancies
The RTB maintains a national register of tenancies. All private residential tenancies must be registered and there are penalties for landlords who do not register. Since 7 April 2016, approved housing bodies are required to register new and existing tenancies. Read more in our document on registering a tenancy.
The RTB can share information with local authorities, which enforce the regulations relating to standards and rent books. It can also share information with the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners.
The RTB provides a confidential dispute resolution service. You can initiate the dispute resolution process if you are a tenant, a landlord or are otherwise directly affected by a problem (for example, if you are a neighbour). A landlord who has not registered the tenancy with the RTB cannot use the dispute resolution service, but their tenant(s) can use it.
Research and information
The RTB has published a number of research reports on issues in the private rented sector and it also publishes a quarterly Rent Index. It provides a wide range of information for tenants, landlords and agents, along with sample forms and other publications.
Exclusions from scope of Acts
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2016 do not apply to the following types of rented property:
- Business lettings
- Holiday lettings
- Formerly rent-controlled dwellings or long occupation lease tenancies – separate legislation applies to them
- A room that you rent in your landlord's home
- Dwellings in which the spouse, parent or child of the landlord lives. This applies to informal family arrangements where there is no tenancy agreement in writing. However, the Act does cover formal agreements between family members, for example where a lease has been signed
- Local authority housing
Part 4 of the Act (which deals with security of tenure) does not apply to:
- Employment-related lettings – these are sometimes called 'tied' houses in that they are tied to the job and you must leave the dwelling when the job ends, and
- Section 50 student accommodation (pdf)
- Transitional dwellings let by housing associations
Also, if you are renting a flat or apartment that was originally part of the landlord's main house, your landlord can choose to opt out of the Part 4 provisions on security of tenure. Read more in our document on Sharing accommodation with your landlord.
The basic rate is €90 per tenancy where the RTB receives the completed application within a month of the start of the tenancy, with a late fee of €180 per tenancy where an application is received after that. Reduced rates applied to approved housing bodies for 12 months from 7 April 2016.
The online fee for dispute resolution by adjudication is €15 and it costs €25 to apply on paper. There is no fee if you apply to have your dispute resolved by mediation.
The online fee for appeal to a tenancy tribunal is €85 and it costs €100 to apply on paper.
How to apply
You can register a tenancy online or else contact the RTB and ask for a tenancy registration form.
You can submit a dispute online or else contact the RTB and ask for a dispute application form.