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), when approved housing bodies (housing associations) were brought under its remit by the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.
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
- Investigate tenancy agreements with or without a formal complaint
- 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.
Residential Tenancies Acts
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2020 deal with the regulation of the mainstream private rented housing sector and the approved housing body sector. The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 brought student-specific accommodation under the remit of the RTB in July 2019. This means that tenants in student-specific accommodation have most of the same rights as private tenants.
COVID-19 and renting
Since March 2020, there have been a number of different protections put in place to support tenants during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which have expired and others which overlap, see below.
In October 2020, an eviction ban was introduced for any period when people’s movement is restricted to 5 kilometres from their home as part of COVID-19 restrictions. This means that tenants cannot be evicted when the country is at Level 5 of COVID-19 restrictions from 31 December 2020 to 31 January 2021 and for a ten-day grace period after this. Under this legislation evictions can take place in limited circumstances, for example, for anti-social behaviour. Any time these protections are in operation they have an ongoing effect on notice periods and the calculation of Part 4 tenancies. You can read more about this in our document Renting and COVID-19.
There are also rental laws to protect tenants economically affected by COVID-19, who have fallen into rent arrears and are at risk of losing their tenancy. These protections include a rent freeze and a 90-day notice period when ending a tenancy. The protections ran from 2 August 2020 to 10 January 2021 under the Residential Tenancies and Valuation Act 2020, and were then replaced with the Planning and Development, and Residential Tenancies Act 2020 from 11 January 2021 to 12 April 2021. The steps landlords and tenants must follow to access these protections changed under the most recent legislation see Rent arrears due to the financial impact of COVID-19. You can read more about this in our document Renting and COVID-19.
In March 2020, a range of protections were put in place for people affected by the pandemic under the Emergency Measures in the Public Interest (COVID-19) Act 2020. These protections, which included a ban on eviction notices and rent increases, have now expired. However, they still have an effect on notice periods and the calculation of Part 4 tenancies.
Services provided by the RTB
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. There are penalties for landlords who do not register. The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 sets out a new requirement for landlords to register tenancies annually. This requirement is not yet in effect.
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.
Accredited training for landlords
The legal framework governing the rental sector is complex and continually changing. The RTB offers free training to landlords through its BetterLet: RTB Accredited Landlord training sessions to help landlords manage their tenancies and keep up to date with the policy and legislative changes in the sector.
To become an accredited landlord, you must attend a one-day training session designed to make you aware of your rights and responsibilities as a landlord, and the rights and responsibilities of your tenants. Contact the RTB to find out more about upcoming training sessions.
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.
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).
Exclusions from scope of Acts
The Residential Tenancies Acts 2004 to 2020 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 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 housing associations
The basic rate for registering a tenancy with the RTB is €90 per tenancy. This rate applies if the RTB receives the completed application within a month of the start of the tenancy. A late fee of €180 per tenancy applies if an application is received more than a month after the tenancy starts. The rate for registering student-specific accommodation tenancies is €40 in 2019. Find more information in our document 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 lodge a dispute with the RTB
You can register a tenancy online or else contact the RTB and ask for a tenancy registration form.
Where to apply