The PRTB operate a number of different dispute resolution mechanics
These are outlined below
The PRTB will operate a two-stage dispute resolution system.
Stage 1 consists of either mediation or adjudication.
Stage 2 is a hearing by a Tenancy Tribunal.
Both mediation and adjudication are confidential to the parties.
If both parties agree to mediation, a PRTB Mediator will be appointed to assist the parties to resolve the dispute themselves. The mediation process is supportive and non-confrontational. It assists the parties to explore each other’s respective positions and reach a resolution of the dispute to which both are agreed. Experience shows that a resolution or agreement freely reached by the parties is often preferable to a third party decision being imposed.
Should either of the parties decide not to use the services of a PRTB Mediator or should the PRTB consider that the case is not suitable for mediation, a PRTB Adjudicator will be appointed to examine the evidence of the parties and investigate the dispute fully. The Adjudicator will decide how the dispute is to be resolved.
The matter will be referred to a Tenancy Tribunal If any of the parties wishes to appeal the Adjudicator’s decision within 21 days or in the event that mediation is unsuccessful and any of the parties request a Tribunal hearing.
In certain exceptional cases the PRTB may refer a dispute directly to the Tribunal, e.g. where there appears to be imminent risk of damage to the dwelling or danger to one of the parties.
A mediation agreement or adjudication decision that is not appealed will become a binding determination order of the PRTB in resolution of the dispute.
Telephone mediation is now also available from the PRTB
Each Tenancy Tribunal will consist of three persons who have relevant professional knowledge and experience. The Tenancy Tribunal holds its hearings in public. Although its procedures are relatively informal and user friendly, basic court rules will be applied by the PRTB. The parties will be allowed participate fully and give their evidence. The parties may, if they wish, be represented at the Tribunal and bring their own witnesses. However, it should be borne in mind that the costs of witnesses or professional representation will not generally be awarded by the Tribunal. Where it considers it appropriate the Tribunal may summon witnesses, require the production of any document and take evidence under oath.
The Tribunal’s determination of the dispute will be issued to the parties as a determination order of the PRTB and is binding unless appealed, within 21 days, to the High Court on a point of law. The PRTB’s determination orders will be published.
Failure to comply with a determination order of the PRTB is an offence. The affected party or the PRTB, if notified and satisfied that an order has not been complied with, may apply to the Circuit Court for an Order directing the party concerned to comply.
In general, the Statute of Limitations applies to disputes referred to the PRTB. However, defined limited periods apply to certain types of dispute.
A dispute about a proposed rent increase must be referred to the PRTB before the rent increase is due to take effect or before 28 days has elapsed since the tenant received the notice of the new rent, whichever is the later.
A dispute about the rent applying to a tenancy may not be referred more than 28 days after the tenancy concerned has terminated.
A dispute relating to the validity of a notice of termination must be referred to the PRTB within 28 days of receipt of the notice.
The PRTB, in certain exceptional circumstances, may extend time limits if the applicant can show good grounds for the late application.
It should always be borne in mind that any dispute should be referred as speedily as possible.