Aideen Hayden, Chairperson of Threshold, today called on all tenants to make sure that their landlords are registered. All landlords were legally obliged to register their properties with the new Private Residential Tenancies Board by 1st December. Threshold was very disappointed when it was revealed by the Department of the Environment that only about 20,000 out of 140,000* rented properties were registered by the deadline. Failure to register is an offence which carries fines of up to €3,000 and/or a term of imprisonment.
Aideen Hayden said:
“Threshold is determined to make the registration process work. First and foremost, we are calling on all landlords to register. Register now and don’t be put off, even if you have missed the deadline.
We are also saying to tenants that if your landlord hasn’t approached you for your PPSN number, or asked you to sign a registration form, there’s a good chance that your landlord hasn’t registered. You should contact the Private Residential Tenancies Board on 01-888 2960 and give them your landlord’s details.
As a tenant, you have good reason to make sure your landlord is registered. If you have a problem with your landlord, you may need to get help through the new dispute resolution service for tenants. If your landlord is not registered, your case may be delayed while the PRTB takes time to register your landlord.
When all landlords are registered, a national database of information will help you to know the exact rent you should be paying for your property. So you’ll know whether you are getting a good deal or being ripped off.”
The obligation to register is nothing new. Landlords have been legally obliged to register with local authorities since 1996. But the previous system was a dismal failure, with only 20% of landlords registering.
“Tenants can be assured that Threshold will pursue this issue rigorously. We do not want to see tenants deprived of their rights because landlords fail to register.
If the current penalties are not enough to get landlords to register, then higher fines and tougher measures should be considered by the Minister for Housing and Urban Renewal, Mr. Noel Ahern.”
*According to the 2002 census, there was 141,459 households living in private rented accommodation.
Notes to Editor:
The requirement to register with the Private Residential Tenancies Board was established with the coming into effect of the new Residential Tenancies Act 2004 on September 1st 2004.
The registration fee is €70 per unit and €300 for multiple units in the same building. The fee is tax deductible and may cover the landlord for up to four years, depending on how long tenants remain. So some landlords may pay as little as €10 per year.
Landlords who have failed to register by December 1st will be subject to a double registration fee (e.g. €140 rather than €70 for a single unit) in the first instance and those who fail to register may be fined up to €3,000 and/or face up to six months imprisonment.
Registration forms are available from the PRTB at 01-888 2960 and from the Department of Environment website at www.environ.ie
2. Dispute Resolution Service
Only landlords who register with the PRTB will be able to avail of the dispute resolution service, while all tenants will be able to use the service. This service comes into effect on 6th December 2004.
The dispute resolution service will deal with problems such as:
- The refund or retention of deposits, which is currently dealt with by the Small Claims Court.
- Determining proper notice periods
- Termination of tenancies
- Claims for rent arrears or other charges
- Claims for costs and damages for either landlord or tenant