Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Rental Sector

Photo of Frank FeighanFrank Feighan (Sligo-Leitrim, Fine Gael)
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130. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he has considered taking any action to alleviate the "genuine difficulties" being experienced by users in registering/re-registering properties on the Residential Tenancies Board website; and if he proposes taking any action in providing resource support/additional staff to the RTB to assist in clearing the backlog being experienced due to a change in registration system and general workload which is clearly evident to all who find it necessary to contact the board. [11046/23]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was established as a quasi-judicial independent statutory body under the Residential Tenancies Acts 2004-2022 (RTA) to regulate the rental sector; provide information to tenants and landlords; maintain a national register of tenancies; resolve disputes between tenants and landlords; and conduct research and provide information to inform policy). The remit of the RTB covers the private rental sector, the not-for-profit housing providers commonly known as Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) and Student-specific Accommodation providers (SSA).

Following the passing of legislation in 2019, with effect from 4 April 2022, landlords are required to register their tenancies with the RTB every year, within one month of the anniversary of when the tenancy began. This applies to both new and existing tenancies.

To facilitate Annual Registration the RTB implemented a new tenancy Management system which is an operational matter for the RTB. Although many landlords and agents have successfully registered their tenancies on the system, I have been made aware that some landlord and agent customers are encountering issues with the new RTB tenancy registration system. The RTB has assured my Department that it is working collaboratively and constructively with the sector to assist anyone experiencing difficulties.

Following recommendations in the RTB Workforce Plan (2018 – 2021) and engagement with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery, and Reform (DPER), the RTB received sanction for significant additional staff over the past three years. The RTB has a sanctioned staffing compliment of 110. It currently has 100 permanent staff and is carrying 10 vacancies. The RTB is actively recruiting to fill the remaining vacancies and to date this year, the RTB has appointed 15 new recruits to permanent positions. Separately, on 18 January 2023 DPER sanctioned an additional Principal Officer post, who will have responsibility for Digital and Data Services, within the RTB Executive Management Team Structure which is now advertised on the RTB website. Additional funding of €2m will be provide to the RTB for 2023, bringing its total allocation to €13.37m.

The RTB is also supported by a third party outsourced service provider who carries out the RTB’s call centre, document management and data entry functions. This contract gives the RTB the flexibility to increase resources as and when required. The outsourcer’s staff are not RTB employees. The RTB has recently almost doubled the staffing in its outsourced call centre to deal with the issues that have arisen following the introduction of annual registration and it has been working hard to find the right balance between ensuring contracted staff are adequately trained and capable of assisting customers with their queries, ranging from linking tenancies, verifying accounts, and data-inputting paper applications. My Department will continue to work with the RTB to ensure it is sufficiently resourced to deliver on its expanded mandate, including any specific requests with regard to annual registration.


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