The Irish Property Owners’ Association (IPOA) has welcomed the Residential Tenancies Board’s (RTB) decision to refund late fees paid for tenancy registrations given the difficulties experienced by users in recent months following the introduction of a new multi-million dollar software registration system.
The RTB will impose a late registration fee of €10 per month but will refund it immediately afterwards. Until this month, there was a flat rate of €90 per month for late registrations. This will also be refunded. Refunds will be in place until early next year. The RTB is legally required to charge late fees under the Residential Tenancies Act.
In a statement, the RTB said the decision was made “in view of the real difficulties” encountered “within its user community”.
In June, the RTB apologized to owners and rental agents for any inconvenience caused during the introduction of the new software system which went live in November last year. Many complaints have been received from rental property owners and their agents about the persistent difficulties they face while using the software.
IPOA President Mary Conway said she believed the RTB was doing its best to remedy a difficult situation. “We welcome that [the refund]. The RTB is trying very hard but it [the late penalty fee] is a government decision.
“I think it’s the best possible compromise. This will create a lot of additional work for the RTB. It’s not the most satisfying to have to pay money and then get it back. And to get refunds and everything.
“But I think it’s very positive from the RTB that they recognize they’re struggling with their new website,” Ms Conway said.
In April, the RTB introduced a requirement for landlords to register details of their tenants every year, instead of once every three years.
In a statement on Sunday, the RTB said that on an interim basis, and in view of the difficulties encountered by its customers, it had committed to refunding all late fees paid for new rental registrations with a start date. on or after April 4, 2022. , and to annual registrations of existing leases which became due on or after the same date.
RTB said it was looking to roll out this new process over the next few weeks and would provide customers with an update once the details are finalized through its website’s regular customer service announcements.
“As previously stated and as stated on the RTB website, RTB is fully aware that some of our customers are experiencing real difficulties when using our new online rental registration system.
“We at RTB very much regret this and sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to date. The new tenant registration system is a critical part of how we administer our current legislative registration functions.
“The new system is designed to bring greater robustness to our verification of rental data provided by owners and rental agents, and the integrity of registration data.
“Despite considerable efforts to design and implement an appropriate registration system, we continue to encounter certain difficulties. We are working very hard to resolve these issues. »
The RTB said it should be noted that the majority of registrations were completed online without difficulty where all information and details were correct as required.
The refund will not apply to late fees accrued prior to the introduction of annual registration on April 4th. It also does not apply to Specific Accommodation Providers for Students (SSAs).
The cost of registering rentals is €40 per year for private rentals, paid rentals and rentals of specific accommodation for students (SSA). The annual fee for rentals managed by Accredited Housing Organizations (AHB) is €20 per year, and the late registration fee is €10 per month. There is a fee waiver in place for landlords who currently have a “Further Part 4” tenancy in place.