Investigations & Sanctions
- What can be investigated?
- How can I notify the Investigations and Sanctions Unit about a potential breach?
- What happens when the Investigations and Sanctions Unit is notified of a potential breach?
- As a landlord how can I ensure I am in compliance with the law?
The RTB has a new investigations and sanctions unit dedicated to investigating potential breaches of rental law by a landlord in relation to:
- Failing to comply with the RPZ (Rent Pressure Zone) requirements including attempting to increase the rent above 4% in a RPZ and seeking to falsely rely on the exemptions to the RPZ requirements. Example of the above breach: A landlord issued a Rent Review Notice stating the rent is being increased above 4% because substantial change in the nature of the accommodation provided under the tenancy has occurred, however, the work that has been undertaken has only brought the property up to the minimum housing standards and therefore, this would not qualify for an exemption to the RPZ requirements.
Failing to register a tenancy - a landlord must register each tenancy within 28 days of commencement.
Failing to notify the RTB where particulars of a tenancy, including the rent amount, have changed within 1 month of an alteration of the rent payable under a registered tenancy taking effect, the landlord must notify the RTB of the new rent amount and the date from which that alteration took effect. In addition, the landlord must notify the RTB of any changes to the particulars of the tenancy as recorded in the register.
Failing to offer a tenant their tenancy back where it has been terminated on certain grounds, if these grounds no longer apply within the relevant time periods laid out in the Act, The relevant grounds include;
- the landlord or a member of the landlord’s family intends to occupy the property,
- the landlord intends to sell the property within 9 months after the termination of the tenancy,
- the landlord intends to substantially refurbish the property in a way that requires the property to be vacant,
- the landlord intends to change the use of the property to another use.
The tenant must have provided the landlord with their contact details, in writing, at the time of the service of the notice of termination and must keep the landlord updated of any changes in their contact details. Information on the time periods relevant to each ground for issuing a notice of termination can be found here. Example of the above breach: A notice of termination was issued stating that the landlord intended to sell the property within 9 months from the end of the tenancy. The tenant vacated the property and, at the time of the service of the notice of termination gave the landlord their contact details in writing. The property was advertised for rent 2 months after the end of the notice period in the notice of termination and the original tenant was not offered the property back.
5. Providing false or misleading reasons for terminating a tenancy.
Example of the above breach: A notice of termination was issued stating that the landlord intends to occupy the property. The tenant vacated the property and, at the time of the service of the notice of termination, gave the landlord their contact details in writing. The property was advertised for rent 3 months after the end of the notice period in the notice of termination and the original tenant was not offered the property back.
The Investigations and Sanctions Unit can start an investigation either as a result of information received from members of the public or as a result of information gathered from records that the RTB has access to under the Residential Tenancies Act.
If you are aware of a potential breach of rental law as outlined above you can bring it to the attention of the Investigations and Sanctions Unit in one of three ways;
1) You can call us on 0818 776297 or 01 6753724
You can raise a concern by calling our dedicated Investigations and Sanctions Information Helpline – 0818 776297 or 01 6753724. Your name and contact details will not be recorded and you will not receive any further up-dates on your referral or any actions that the RTB may take on foot of your information.
2) You can email us at email@example.com.
Please make sure to include the address of the property and, if possible, the name and address of the landlord in your email. Your name and contact details will be recorded for the purposes of requesting follow up information, should this become necessary, but no identifying information ie. contact information and personal data, will be disclosed to the landlord as part of the Investigations and Sanctions Process. You will not receive any further up-dates on your referral or any actions that the RTB may take on foot of your information.
3) You can make a formal complaint
A formal complaint can be made in writing by filling out and returning the RTB Sanctions and Alleged Breach Complaint form. If you require further information or wish to contact us before submitting your formal complaint, please phone our Investigations and Sanctions Information Helpline – 0818 776297 or 01 6753724.
If you make a formal complaint you will be informed whether or not an investigation will take place and will be informed, once an investigation has been completed, of the result.
No identifying information ie contact information and personal data apart from your name, will be disclosed to the landlord as part of the Investigations and Sanctions Process.
All information received is reviewed by the Investigations and Sanctions team to ascertain if an investigation can take place.
The landlord will be notified if an investigation commences and will be given the opportunity to acknowledge their breach(s).
If a formal complaint has been received both the complainant and the landlord will be informed whether or not an investigation will take place.
The landlord will also be given the opportunity to submit relevant evidence to prove that a breach has not occurred.
The investigation will be conducted by specially appointed RTB Authorised Officers. During the investigation the Authorised Officer may write to the landlord or any other person they believe may be able to provide evidence or information to assist in the investigation. This may include the complainant (if any), estate agent, letting agent, neighbours, professional experts etc. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, bank statements, letters, photos, advertisements and witness statements. They may also conduct an Oral Hearing if necessary.
Once the Authorised Officer has completed the investigation they will produce a Draft Report setting out an account of the investigation and details of the findings together with evidence gathered by the Authorised Officer or submitted in the course of the investigation and will send this to the landlord and the complainant (if any).
The landlord and the complainant (if any) will then have 21 days from the date of receipt of the Draft Report to make submissions in writing to the Authorised Officer on the Draft Report.
The Authorised Officer will consider any such submissions made and make any alteration to the Draft Report if, in their opinion an alteration is warranted.
The final Investigation Report, and any submission received on the Draft Report, will be submitted to an independent Decision Maker.
The Decision Maker will consider the final Investigation Report and if they agree that a breach has occurred, they can apply a caution or a fine on a landlord of up to a maximum of €15,000 and costs of €15,000. This fine is paid to the Exchequer.
The landlord can appeal the decision of the Decision Maker to the Circuit Court within 21 days of the giving by the Board to the landlord of the decision notice
Sanctions are confirmed by the Circuit Court and, once confirmed, will be published on the RTB website.
Landlords and tenants both have responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act.
It is the responsibility of landlords and tenants to make sure that they are aware of their rights and responsibilities under the Residential Tenancies Act. If you are unsure if a part of the legislation applies to you, you can call our general Helpline on 0818303037 or use our webchat service on onestopshop.rtb.ie for information about the Act and how it applies to landlords and tenants.
You can also download the Good Landlord/Tenant Guide here. This is a guide to the Residential Tenancies Act which the RTB has published to help landlords and tenants to understand how the legislation applies to them.