The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Bill, 2018
The Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No.2) Bill 2018 was passed by the Seanad on the 21st May 2019. The Bill has now finished all stages in the Oireachtas and it is anticipated that it will be enacted shortly and commence on 1st July 2019.
Main Aims of Bill:
- to provide for powers to carry out investigations of landlords and impose administrative sanctions
- to provide for offences in relation to non-compliance with rent increase restrictions in rent pressure zones
- to increase the notice periods to be provided in the case of termination of a tenancy by a landlord
- to provide for annual registration by landlords of tenancies and to amend the registration process, to provide for mandatory publication of determination orders by the Residential Tenancies Board; and to provide for related matters.
What this Bill will mean for Landlords?
-stricter monitoring of criminal offences (e.g. non compliance with rent increase restrictions in RPZs and tenancy registration, non-cooperation with investigations), will have to give longer notice periods to tenants, must register annually with RTB, right to view mandatory publication of RTB determination orders, right to appeal decisions of Board
What this Bill will mean for Tenants?
-increased protection from illegal behaviour of landlords, lengthened notice periods (more time to find new residency), increased support and assurance from RTB
- Where, in setting, at any particular time the rent under the tenancy of a dwelling in a rent pressure zone, a landlord seeks to rely on subsection (5), the landlord shall 1) serve a notice in the prescribed form together with all relevant supporting information on the Board setting out the reasons why, in the landlord’s opinion, subsection 4 does not apply to the dwelling, specify in the notice the rent set under the tenancy of the dwelling and the amount of rent last set under the tenancy of the dwelling and finally serve the notice and information within 1 month from the setting of the rent under the tenancy of the dwelling.
If a complaint is made against landlord?
- Where on the hearing of a complaint under Part 6 in respect of a notice of termination served by a landlord on a tenant, an adjudicator or the Tribunal makes a determination that
- i)original notice invalid due to defect contained in original notice
- ii)the defect concerned does not prejudice the original notice
- iii)the original notice is otherwise in compliance with the provisions of this Act
Remedies (made by Landlord)
- landlord shall be permitted to remedy the original notice to cure the defect identified by the adjudicator or tribunal
- the remedial notice shall be served with 28 days of the issue of the determination order under section 121
- where the period of notice to be given by the original notice has expired, the period of notice to be given by the remedial notice is 28 days
- where the period of notice to be given by the original notice has not expired, the period of notice to be given by the remedial notice is the cumulative period of :
- - the period of notice to be given by the original notice which remains unexpired on the date of service of the remedial notice
- - 28 days
Registration of Tenancy Requirements (by landlord)
Amendment of section 134 of Act of 2004
The landlord of a dwelling shall apply to the Board in accordance with this Part to register the tenancy of the dwelling
- On the commencement of the tenancy
- Annually during the tenancy
(a) if the date of the commencement of the tenancy falls within 3 months from the commencement of subsection 1, the landlord shall make the application under subsection (1)(a) of section 134 within 4 months from the commencement of subsection (1) and that application shall constitute compliance with subsection (2)(b)(ii) of section 134
(b) if the anniversary of the date of the commencement of the tenancy falls within 3 months from the commencement of subsection (1), the landlord shall make application under subsection (1)(b) of section 134, within 4 months from the commencement of subsection (1) and that application shall constitute compliance with subsection (2B)
Fees (to be payed by landlord)
-Landlord must pay a fee along with their application
-If the application is made in the period of 12 months beginning on the commencement of section 15 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2018 – a fee of €40
Failure to comply with the requirements?
- A person who fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (4) shall be guilty of an offence.
- A person, who in purported compliance with subsection (5B) furnishes information to the Board which is false or misleading in a material respect knowing it to be so false or misleading or being reckless as to whether it is so false or misleading shall be guilty of an offence.
Part 4 Tenancy
Amendment of Section 45 of Act of 2004
If a further Part 4 tenancy continues to the expiry of 6 years from its coming into being without a notice of termination under section 34 or 36 having been served in respect of it before that expiry, then, by virtue of this section, the tenancy shall be extended and a further Part 4 tenancy shall come into being between the landlord and tenant on that expiry.
- -Less than 6 months 28 days
- -6 or more months but less than 1 year 90 days
- -1 year or more but less than 2 years 120 days
- -2 years or more but less than 3 years 120 days
- -3 years or more but less than 4 years 120 days
- -4 years or more but less than 5 years 120 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
Enforcement of Requirement to Update Particulars
Section 144A (1) - as soon as practicable opinion is formed that a landlord under a tenancy has failed to comply with section 139(1), the Board shall serve the notice referred to in subsection (2).
The notice shall:
a) inform the landlord of the Board’s opinion
b) request the landlord to, within the period specified in the notice
i) comply with section 139(1)
ii) furnish to the Board the reasons why the landlord considers that the opinion is not well founded.
3) If the landlord does not comply with 139(1) within the period specified OR does not furnish the reasons to the Board or furnishes reasons which do not result in the Board altering its opinion – the Board shall serve a further notice on the landlord stating that the landlord is required to comply with section 139(1)
4) A person who fails to comply with a notice under subsection (3) within 14 days from the receipt by him/her of the notice shall be guilty of an offence.
Complaints, Investigations and Sanctions – Part 7A
Power of authorised officer
For the purposes of carrying out an investigation, an authorised officer may:
-Inspect, examine and search any premises where he or she has reasonable grounds for believing that any activity in connection with the letting or tenancy of a dwelling is carried on.
-At such premises inspect + take copies or extracts from records relating to the activity which he or she finds or with which he or she is provided in the course of his or her inspection
-Remove any such records from the premises and retain them for such period as he or she reasonably considers to be necessary for the purposes of his or her functions under this part
-Require any person at the premises to give assistance/information and produce such records that are in that person’s possession or control
-Be accompanied by a member of the Garda Siochana if there is reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the performance of any of the authorised officer’s functions
-Require a landlord to provide an explanation of a decision, course of action, system or practice or content of any records
For the purposes of an investigation an authorised officer
- 1)may require a person who possesses information that is relevant to the investigation or has any records within that person’s possession or control or within that person’s procurement as the authorised officer may reasonably require for the purposes of his or her functions under this Part
- 2)where the authorised officer thinks fit, may require that person to attend before the authorised officer for the purpose of so providing that information or those records as the case may be.
Failure to Comply
Where it appears to an authorised officer that a person has failed to comply or fully comply with a requirement, the authorised officer may apply in a summary manner to the District Court for an order.
-Where the Board receives a complaint, it shall cause an investigation of the matter the subject of the complain to be carried out unless, following inquiries, the Board is satisfied that
- a)Insufficient information is provided with the complaint
- b)Complaint does not relate to improper conduct
- c)The complaint is not made in good faith
- d)The complaint is frivolous or vexatious or without substance
- e)Complaint should be referred to the Board for resolution
Notice of Investigation to Landlord
The authorised officer appointed by the Board under section 148U must
- -Give notice in writing to the landlord in relation to whose improper conduct the complaint relates of the receipt of the complaint and setting out particulars of the complaint.
- -Give the landlord copies of any documents relevant to the investigation
- -Without prejudice, allow to the landlord 21 days to respond from starting date
If the investigation arises on the volition of the Board
- -give notice in writing to the landlord concerned of the matters of the investigation
- -give the landlord copies of any relevant documents
- -Without prejudice, allow the landlord 21 days to respond from starting date
Investigation Report and Decision
Authorised officer must:
- 1)Prepare draft of investigation report
- 2)Give to relevant landlord (and the complainant if necessary)
- 3)Submit final form of report to the decision maker appointed by the Board
Receipt of decision by Board
-On receipt of decision, Board must prepare a written record and issue to the landlord.
-Must inform the landlord when the decision will become binding.
Landlord’s Rights – to appeal
148AA – appeal to circuit court against decision to impose sanction
(no longer than 21 days after the decision notice)
148AB – application to circuit court to confirm decision to impose sanction
148AC – provisions supplementary to sections 148AA and 148AB
148AD – Matters to be considered in determining nature of sanction
148AE – Publications of sanctions
148AF – Procedural Rules
148AG – Relationship between Investigation and Criminal proceedings
The Bill aims to amend the 2004 Residential Tenancies Act (2004 Act), with 3 main objections – to strengthen the sanctioning powers of the RTB, to lengthen the termination notice rights of tenants and to make rent data more readily available to tenants. The Minister wishes to introduce extended criminal liability to landlords who fail to comply with rules within Rent Pressure Zones. Overall this Bill appears to bring increased and much needed protection to tenants in Ireland, while still maintaining rights of landlords who can appeal their cases and are guaranteed access to investigation reports.