The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 regulates the tenant-landlord relationship in the private rented residential sector. The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) was established under the Act to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants in the private rented residential sector.
Following a review of the Act in 2009 the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No 2) Bill 2012 was published on 19 July 2012 and Second Stage in the Dáil concluded on 24 January 2013. The Residential Tenancies (Amendment)(No. 2) Bill 2012 builds on what has been achieved by the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and by the PRTB and provides for the further development of the rental sector into the future. Among the main issues addressed by the amending legislation are the extension of the remit of the Residential Tenancies Act to Approved Housing Body tenancies; the Board of the PRTB to be reduced from 15 to 12 members; the separation of the governance and quasi-judicial functions of the Board; the merger of the PRTB and the Rent Tribunal; the simplification and streamlining of the mediation process.
While the Bill addresses a wide range of issues, there are some other aspects still under development which I hope to bring forward for consideration during the Bill's passage through the Oireachtas. In particular, I intend to provide for the establishment of a deposit protection scheme to address the illegal retention of tenants' deposits by landlords. I also hope to address a number of other key on-going concerns within the sector such as the over holding of rented property by tenants.