Judicial route ‘last resort’ for tenancies board

The Private Residential Tenancies Board secured almost 200 court orders last year against rogue landlords or tenants who ignored its determinations.

Judicial route ‘last resort’ for tenancies board

PRTB figures released to the Irish Examiner show that it referred 373 cases to its legal advisers for enforcement over the last 12 months, and that it obtained 198 court orders in respect of these cases.

A further 80 cases were either settled in full, or agreements were reached to discharge the debt based on a payment schedule.

A spokesperson for the PRTB said they first try to seek compliance by non- judicial means by engaging with the non-compliant party.

“Given the financial difficulties experienced by both landlords and tenants over the last number of years, this approach has proven to be successful in assisting parties in reaching agreements to settle the outstanding debt,” the spokesperson said.

“Going down the judicial route is taken as a last resort.

“Settlement agreements are by far the best option for parties as it does mean that payments will be made, even if it is sometimes over a longer period.”

She said going to court does not always mean the money will be paid because in some cases, parties simply do not have the means to pay.

But she added: “Where payment is not made, the PRTB has a policy of registering the judgment and this may have very serious financial consequences for that person in the future should they wish to apply for a loan.”

The PRTB re-launched its website last year to include a section detailing summaries of its court decisions, and to provide details of its enforcement work.

It has, to date, published 175 summaries on the court orders obtained.

An analysis of those shows that 18% were in relation to over-holding, 40% related to rent arrears, and 33% were in relation to landlords holding on to deposits.

PRTB officials and representatives of the Irish Property Owners’ Association have agreed to attend a public meeting in Cork within weeks, organised by former lord mayor, Cllr John Buttimer, who supported residents in Bishopstown who won a landmark case against a landlord last year.

Mr Buttimer said he hopes the meeting will explain to residents how they can tackle problem landlords, and will also demonstrate how responsible landlords can engage with local residents on issues of concern.

The date and venue have yet to be arranged.

Meanwhile, residents living around University College Cork have been encouraged to attend the next meeting of the University Residents Forum in the Lough Community Association premises on Jan 22.

Spokesman for the forum, Barry Keane, said they will discuss the upcoming UCC and CIT Rag Week events.

They will also brief residents on the opening of the new Garda facility in the Lough community centre, on new legislation designed to crack down on antisocial tenants, and on efforts by the Revenue Commissioner to target illegal landlords.

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