The PRTB (Private Residential Tenancies Board)

If you rent a property which is covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 then you must register a tenancy with the PRTB, if you get the registration in within a month it will cost €70, if you are late it is €140. This fee gives the landlord virtually nothing and if you don’t register the PRTB can (in case of any dispute), defend the tenant but not accept any complaints from a landlord.

The fact that this is so one-sided is evidence that there is an anti-landlord undercurrent which is highly prevalent in Ireland goes so far as to be expressed in legislation. Contrary to popular belief, a landlord has very little ability to turf out tenants or behave in a manner which is one sided.

If you don’t register your tenancy you cannot offset mortgage interest against rental income, the laws on offsetting expenses (mortgage interest) for landlords have changed, and now you can only offset 75% of the interest against rental income, if you had this reduced to zero for not registering with the PRTB you could be sitting on a large tax liability.

The PRTB is not what we would call a ‘fair’ system, there are rights heavily in favour of tenants which don’t give ‘fairness’ or ‘a level playing field’ or even ‘relevant recourse’ rather the law has gone to the extreme of providing a brand of protectionism, whereby a person who invests their capital to provide shelter at a cost can be manipulated by the system with little or no recourse to the individual receiving the benefit of the asset. In other words, a landlord can spend an unlimited amount of money on a property, in its upkeep etc. and a tenant can decide not to meet their end of the contract (pay rent on time) and then there are a plethora of mechanisms that come to their defence be they in the right or wrong, and in the end they usually walk away scot-free. So is it any surprise that the by-product of this is landlords putting more punitive measures into lease contracts? Hardly….

Comments

  1. The legislation was introduced in order to bring about a considerably pro-tenant environment and perhaps this has lead to an overly anti-landlord environment. As you say, it is quite difficult to dislodge a tenant under Irish law but most tenants are unaware of this fact and, anecdotally, unlawful evictions or entry to the rented premises are quite common.

    The legislation was proposed during one of our national bouts of hand-wringing about the lack of a renting culture in Ireland and coincided with an undersupply of housing, leading to the high house prices that are now a distant memory.

    It would have been better for the government to concentrate on the minimum standards required of rented accommodation and enforcing them, rather than becoming obsessed with a system of registration (which has a strong element of tracking Revenue avoidance).

    The quality of rented accommodation in Ireland remains quite low (notwithstanding recent improvements as luxury properties developed for sale are put on the rental market).

  2. Hi Rossa,

    Thanks for dropping by and for the comment! I think you hit the nail on the head regarding minimum standards, having said that, in retrospect, with a property boom standards rose naturally as competition for tenants increased. It was only during a time when there was a shortage of property that landlords could get away with sub-standard housing, if somebody is in sub-standard accommodation now the should move out asap and rent elsewhere (likely for cheaper!).

    hope ya come back soon
    karl

  3. UpsidedownA

    On the other hand, tenants have to worry about their good name whereas landlords never do. Landlords ask tenants for references not the other way round. If a tenant stops paying rent, they may find it difficult ever to rent again. When choosing to rent a new place, the tenant can see the state of the apartment, house or building, but can’t tell from that whether the landlord was always ‘popping round’ or harassing the previous tenants in other ways.

  4. Hi UpsidedownA

    I believe that is only partially true, not all tenants are asked for references, and there are strict rules on landlord visits to the property. Landlords have (in my experience) no interest in ever seeing their tenants at all as long as they pay, but tenants have far more incentive not to pay or to use the law to their advantage and help is provided for free when a landlord has to cover the costs of anything they do to enforce a lease. It is fairly one sided in my opinion.

  5. alfredo monaco

    We will never take tenant on rent allowance again because the goverment is stopping rent allowance for people who have be cheating, now we have these people who will not pay the rent out of there own pocket so us landlords have no rights, What are we paying the prtb for

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