Residential Tenancies Board
What is the Residential Tenancies Board?
The Residential Tenancies Board was set up under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to regulate the private rented sector. It was initially called the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) but its name was changed to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), when approved housing bodies (AHBs) were brought under its remit in 2015 by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015. In 2019 student-specific accommodation also came under the remit of the RTB. This means that tenants in student-specific accommodation have most of the same rights as private tenants. This change was brought in under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019.
The RTB's main functions are to:
- Maintain a register of private residential tenancies, tenancies of approved housing bodies and student-specific accommodation tenancies
- Provide a dispute resolution service for tenants and landlords
- Carry out research into the private rented sector
- Provide policy advice to the Government on the private rented sector
Residential tenancies legislation
The Residential Tenancies Acts deal with the regulation of the mainstream private rented housing sector, the approved housing body sector and student-specific accommodation. The Acts set out the rights and obligations of both landlords and tenants in these sectors. They do not apply to certain types of rented property.
Types of rented property that are exempt from residential tenancies legislation
The Residential Tenancies Acts do not apply to the following types of rented property:
- Business lettings
- Holiday lettings
- Formerly rent-controlled properties or long occupation lease tenancies (separate legislation applies to them)
- A room that you rent in your landlord's home
- Properties 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 2004 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 property when the job ends, and
- Student-specific accommodation
- Transitional properties let by approved housing bodies
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 page on Sharing accommodation with your landlord.
What does the RTB do?
Registration of tenancies
The RTB maintains a national register of tenancies. All private residential tenancies, approved housing body tenancies and student-specific accommodation tenancies must be registered with the RTB. Since 4 April 2022, landlords must register their tenancies every year, within a month of the date of when the tenancy began. Landlords who do not register their tenancies can be fined up to €4,000 and may be imprisoned if convicted.
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 Social Protection and the Revenue Commissioners.
The RTB provides a confidential dispute resolution service. You can start 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 can use it.
Investigation and sanction of landlords
The RTB has an investigations and sanctions unit, which has the power to:
- Investigate landlords who have broken residential tenancies legislation, for example, if they don’t register their tenancies or comply with Rent Pressure Zones rules
- Caution or sanction landlords with a fine of up to €15,000 if they do not meet their obligations as a landlord
The RTB uses these powers to monitor and enforce the legislation, particularly in relation to Rent Pressure Zones and termination of tenancy notices. These additional powers were brought in under the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019.
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, such as the Good Landlord/Tenant Guide (pdf).
How much does it cost to register a tenancy or submit a dispute?
The basic fee for registering a private rented, student-specific or cost rental tenancy with the RTB is €40 per year. The fee to register an AHB tenancy is €20 a year. These rates only apply if the RTB receives the completed application within a month of the start of the tenancy. Late fees apply if an application is received more than a month late. There are exemptions from annual registration fees for certain tenancies. Find more information in our page on registering a tenancy.
The RTB deals with disputes between landlords and tenants. There are 2 stages to the RTB’s dispute resolution process. Stage 1 is confidential mediation or adjudication. Mediation means that an impartial mediator helps the parties come to an agreement together, while adjudication is where an adjudicator makes a decision on the case. Stage 2 is an appeal of the mediator’s or adjudicator’s decision, which is a public hearing by a 3-person Tenancy Tribunal.
Fees for submitting an application to the RTB for dispute resolution are:
|Dispute resolution by mediation||No charge||No charge|
|Dispute resolution by adjudication||€15||€25|
How to register a tenancy or submit a dispute with the RTB
You can register a tenancy online or by post or email.
You can submit a dispute online.
Where to make a complaint about the RTB
If you are unhappy with the service provided by the RTB you can contact them to make a formal complaint. You should:
- Make the complaint as soon as possible after the issue has happened
- Provide as much information as possible
Your complaint will be reviewed by someone in the RTB who was not involved in the original issue. The RTB aim to deal with complaints within 14 days. If this is not possible they will contact you to let you know it will take longer. The RTB’s Customer Charter has more information about their complaints procedure.
The RTB’s complaints procedure does not cover all types of complaints about the RTB. For example, there is a different process for complaints or appeals about RTB Adjudication or Tribunal Determinations. The RTB’s Customer Charter has more information on this.