What is the PRTB? (now called the RTB)
The Private Residential Tenancies board (PRTB) was established as part of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants and to operate a system of tenancy registration. Landlords and tenants may refer disputes to the PRTB for resolution.
What does it do?
The board deals with:
· The refund and retention of deposits
· Alleged breaches of tenancy obligations (on the part of either the landlord or tenant)
· Failure to terminate a tenancy correctly
· Determining proper notice periods
· Tenants vacating without a valid notice
· Claims for costs and damages (from either party)
· Penalisation of tenants by landlords
· Claims for rent arrears or other charges
How does this effect landlords?
The greatest impact of the establishment of the RTB is:
· The requirement for landlords to register each tenancy with the RTB (cost €90)
· Security of tenure for tenants.
After an initial 6 month period a tenant may remain in the property for up to three and a half years. This is known as a Part 4 tenancy.
What is the registration process?
All tenancies must be registered with the Residential Tenancies Board within one month of the commencement of the tenancy. You can register on-line at www.rtb.ie Each tenancy costs €90 to register. A double fee applies for late registrations. Failure to register, means that a landlord cannot claim mortgage interest as an allowable expense for income tax purposes. The registration fee is an allowable expense against tax.
Landlords must be registered in order to avail of the RTB dispute resolution service. Tenants will have access to the service irrespective of whether or not the tenancy is registered.
How much notice must be given by a landlord?
Outlined below are the notice periods that must be provided
Duration of Tenancy Notice by Landlord
Less than 6 months 28 days
6 or more months but less than 1 year 35 days
1 year or more but less than 2 years 42 days
2 years or more but less than 3 years 56 days
3 years or more but less than 4 years 84 days
4 years or more but less than 5 years 112 days
5 years or more but less than 6 years 140 days
6 years or more but less than 7 years 168 days
7 years or more but less than 8 years 196 days
8 or more years 224 days
How do I end a tenancy?
Termination of a tenancy requires the service of a valid Notice of Termination giving the appropriate amount of notice, which is 28 days where the tenancy has lasted less than 6 months or termination is for breach of tenancy obligations. The notice period increases with the duration of the tenancy
Termination of a tenancy for serious anti-social behaviour also requires the serving of a valid Notice of Termination but the required notice period is only 7 days. In the case of landlords terminating a tenancy, the only exception to the requirement to do so by way of a valid Notice of Termination is where the tenancy is for a fixed term of less than 6 months and the landlord wants the tenancy to terminate on the expiry of the fixed term.
What is a notice of termination?
The person ending the tenancy (it can be either landlord or tenant) must serve a Notice of Termination (a written notice) on the other party and that notice must comply with the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 in terms of the content of the notice itself and the amount of notice given. The content of the notice will depend on whether it is served by the landlord, or tenant, the length of the tenancy and the reason for the termination.
In order to be valid a Notice of Termination must:
· Be in writing
· Be signed by the landlord or by his/her authorised agent
· Specify the date of service
· State the reason for termination (where the tenancy has lasted for more than 6 months)
· Specify the termination date (the tenant has the whole of the 24 hours of this date to vacate possession)
· State that any issue as to the validity of the notice or the right of the landlord to serve it must be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board within 28 days from the receipt of the notice.
Template Notices of Termination can be downloaded here
Under what circumstances can I ask my tenants to leave?
The landlord can terminate the tenancy without specifying grounds during the first 6 months, but once a tenancy has lasted 6 months, the landlord will be able to terminate that tenancy (known as a “Part 4 tenancy”) during the following 3½ years only if any of the following apply;
- The tenant does not comply with the obligations of the tenancy
· The dwelling is no longer suited to the occupants accommodation needs (e.g. overcrowded)
· The landlord intends to sell the dwelling in the next 3 months
· The landlord requires the dwelling for own or family member occupation
· The landlord intends to refurbish the dwelling
· The landlord intends to change the business use of the dwelling.
When can I keep the security deposit to cover damages?
This is the area that causes most disputes between landlords and tenants. A deposit (or a portion of it) can only be retained if the tenant breached the terms of the lease agreement that results in loss or damage to the property that exceeds ‘normal wear and tear’.
Tenants are entitled to a refund of the deposit amount paid at the commencement of the tenancy, where there is no rent outstanding and there is no damage to the dwelling beyond normal wear and tear at the end of the tenancy. Landlords are required to refund the deposit promptly less any deductions in respect of outstanding rent and damage in excess of normal wear and tear.
If the landlord retains a deposit, the tenant must be provided with a written and itemised explanation of the reasons why. It is important to keep receipts for repairs to damages or items replaced. These will be required if the tenant complains to the RTB.
Note: It is not possible to claim for your own time e.g. if you re-paint a room yourself. You cannot put a value on this time and deduct it from the tenants deposit.
Who can refer a dispute to the RTB?
Disputes can be referred by a wide range of parties including:
· Landlords (but only where the tenancy is registered)
· Licensees (in certain circumstances)
· Certain third parties who may be affected by a landlord’s failure to enforce tenants’ obligations (e.g. neighbours)
How do you refer a dispute to the RTB?
Anyone wishing to refer a dispute to the RTB should contact it directly in the first instance and discuss the matter. The RTB will provide an Application Form, which should be completed and returned to the Board along with the appropriate application fee. The RTB staff will help anyone who may have difficulty completing the Application Form. Information provided to the RTB in respect of a dispute will be copied to both parties.
What disputes will the RTB deal with?
These are some examples of the issues the RTB will deal with but other matters may also be dealt with:
· Refund or retention of deposits
· Breaches of tenancy obligations (by either landlords or tenants)
· The charging of rents above market rent
· Timing of rent reviews
· Failure to follow the correct procedure to terminate a tenancy
· Invalid reason for terminating a tenancy
· Termination notices
· Tenants and sub-tenants remaining in occupation despite receiving a valid termination notice
· Claims for costs and damages from either the landlord or the tenant arising from failures by either party to comply with their obligations
· Claims for costs or damages or both by a landlord or tenant claiming improper termination of a tenancy
· Failure to comply with a determination order made by the RTB
· Penalisation of tenants by landlords, e.g. for referring a dispute to the RTB
· Claims for rent arrears or other charges
Videos explaining the work of the RTB can be found here