Stuck in a tenancy dispute, don't know what to do?
Updated: Oct 28, 2019
Hello fellow readers,
I was approached by a few individuals stuck in this situation and rather than addressing one at a time; I always prefer to share the knowledge with all just in case someone else might need help now or in the future.
A student or young graduate's life is full of turmoil and trust me, I am going through the same process, running into such circumstances are a great way to learn valuable lessons.
Now, if you are sandwiched in a scenario where your landlord is not giving you your deposit back or all of a sudden increases the rent - you need not worry!
In many instances, it simply is a misunderstanding, hence calm down and try talking to the landlord. If that doesn't work out most private residential tenancies are covered by the:
*Note: All SSA (Student Specific Accommodation ) since July 2019 came under the remit of the Residential Tenancy Board. (This legislation doesn't apply to tenants of local authorities or tenants who sub-rent.)
Please do keep in mind that the law works on hard evidence, thus keep a record of all contact between yourself and your landlord, including copies of all correspondence, documents, repair receipts, photographs of the property prior to your entry, etc.
Should you require any third party's assistance if talking does not resolve the issues, speak to:
Threshold , they are the national housing charity and will be able to guide you and provide information in a private rented housing environment.
If your landlord denies issuing a rent book, you may contact the housing department of your local authority.
Last resort, The Residential Tenancies Board's dispute resolution service.
RTB's Dispute Resolution Service - How it works?
They offer a dispute resolution service to landlords and tenants. Any agreement reached with its help, or adjudicated by it, is legally binding on both parties.
The service covers disputes about deposits, lease terms, termination of tenancies, rent arrears, market rents, complaints by neighbors, breaches of statutory obligations by either landlord or tenant and any other matters related to the tenancy. It can also deal with disputes about terms of a lease or other tenancy agreements that are not specified in the Residential Tenancies Act 2004. You do not need legal representation when taking a case to the RTB.
*Note: You must make your complaint within 28 days of notice/dispute.
RTB deals all queries in 2 stages:
Stage 1 - mediation or adjudication: an impartial third person will sit down with both parties and try to come up with a mutually beneficial solution either face-to-face or via a series of telephone calls. Post completion a report will be sent out to both and must be accepted or rejected within 10 days; if accepted it becomes legally binding. Else, an adjudicator is appointed to investigate the case fully. Based on the evidence and witnesses of the two parties, the adjudicator decides how the dispute is to be resolved.
Stage 2 - Tenancy Tribunal: a three-person public hearing is held upon the request by either side which must be made within 10 days of the above report where a posted letter notifies you the date, time and venue of the hearing and gives an outline of the dispute and of the procedures for the hearing.
Lastly, if you do not want to go through such a tedious process, you can still report an issue and RTB will investigate certain issues and sanction the landlord if necessary. You can contact the RTB’s Investigations and Sanctions Information Helpline to discuss these concerns or make a formal complaint using the RTB Sanctions and Alleged Breach Complaint form (pdf).
You are not required to make legal representations, however, if you do then it must be at your own expense.