Rent Review - Help!

I posted this in property accident and emergency but it might get more traction here -

Pinsters, I am having difficulty with my LL. There are a number of unsatisfactory issues with the place I rent. For reasons of convenience and location I wish to remain where I am in spite of this. They are issues presently beyond the LL’s control but unsatisfactory none the less. The LL now wishes to increase my rent. I have told the LL that there is no justification for doing so because of said issues. LL maintains it is my choice to remain at current market rent or let someone else come in and pay it. The issue would not be apparent to prospective viewers and the LL would of course get away with this. I am now being told accept it or move.

Should I refer this to the PRTB? According to their index my rent should raise about 10% (based on Q3 2013 data and what I originally agreed when I moved in). Do they stick to this index to determine acceptable market rate? LL wants 20% increase which is closer to Daft asking prices. Will the PRTB factor in said issues? If I refer to PRTB does my rent remain at current level? How long do they take to adjudicate? Am I liable for a backdated increase? Any help would be appreciated, this is pretty stressful and the LL has suddenly turned rather obtuse and callous. I apologise for the vagueness, I am happy to expand on specifics in PM.

You might be on to a loser taking that line I’m afraid. The landlord has every right to raise the rent in line with the “market rate” in your area once every year. Right now more people are paying the asking rates in Daft because landlords know the is a shortage (I’m assuming you’re in Dublin). The PTRB shows the average rent in your area but it’s only an average and there’s no precedent that I know of of anyone being successful in enforcing it in an area (because it only recently became available).

There is no way you can lodge a complaint with the PTRB and pay a rent you decide until they get back to you in 9 months. That is breaking the terms of your tenancy and will go against you. If you want to stay you will need to pay the new rent and then lodge a complaint that it is not “market rate” and the PTRB may (or may not) order the landlord to adjust the rent back to the “market”. I’m not sure you’d ever see the money you overpaid. {eidt: I was wrong, in fact, you don’t have to pay the increased rent while you wait}.

In other words, if you don’t believe someone will pay the new rent then the only way to prove it is to move out and leave the landlord to his fate. You can report him to the PTRB afterwards but you’ll be waiting and nothing might change.

When I was looking into this last year, it seemed that you continue to pay the old rent while the PTRB gets around to reviewing the case, with the potential to have to pay the back rent if they decide against you.

Do you have a reference?

There is a bit of a conundrum. The flaws in the apartment would not be evident until someone lives in it, so yes, he could find anyone to pay full market rent but is it considered acceptable to charge market rate when I live in the property and know these flaws? If that’s that the case then a landlord can just turnover tenants and plead ignorance when the issue crops up with the next set. The issue cannot be rectified because the developer went bust and I don’t think the management company can afford to carry out the scale of necessary repairs, it seems madness that every subsequent tenant must fall foul to this while the LL collects full market rent based on initial ignorance.

This business of unsatisfactory issues beyond the Landlord’s control intrigues me - and would hardly
help you in PRTB nor allow them help you. Is it neighbour issues or anti-social mobs or a motorway or what?
If its broke - let your feet do the fixing - jump before you are pushed!

Structural, it’s at management company level so he’s impotent in this regard, don’t think the money is there to fix it.

No, I’m not sure. I just know that in disputes unilateral action is looked on less favourably than toeing the line and being proven right afterwards. If someone can show precedent in this with the PTRB i would be happy to corrected.

BTW: you can see the disputes on the PTRB website… two of the three “market rate” disputes in 2012 have broken links to the PDF of the adjudication orders… but this one is working… In this case the market rate challenge by the tenant was not upheld.

Was the tenant lodging a counter claim against a rent increase by stating the current rent was above market rate? Point 2 states the landlord’s notice for a rent increase wasn’t upheld either.

You have a fixed term tenancy I assume. He is free to up the rent.

It depends on whether you really want this hassle in your life.
If you are prepared for a bit of a row I would advise him you will move out but will be taking a PRTB case on the basis that the issues were so severe you believe you will be entitled to compensation. Keep a documented list of the issues from now on. If he signs another 12 month tenancy agreement at the current rent you won’t take a PRTB case.

If you’re moving out then don’t pay him the last months rent and set that against the deposit. Take photos when you’re leaving.

As repugnant as I now find his attitude I don’t think I’m willing to quite scale to that level of acrimony, though I do appreciate the advice.

I meant at the end of the first 12 months he is free to up the rent.

I was indeed wrong to say you have to take the increased rent while waiting for a resolution from the PTRB. The act says the rent is frozen until you get their judgement if the dispute is over the amount payable. Ref: Sorry for steering you wrong and thanks to those who spotted my mistake!

I did. His argument is, you decide you’re willing to tolerate said issue and are willing to live in it, don’t expect a reduced rent because I can easily get someone who will pay full rent. Sure he can, because they won’t know of said issue until some time after they move in.

Hiphop, worry not, that’s the great thing about the pin. So the question is, am I liable for the difference if they rule in LL’s favour?

Oh dear, I do admire some of the outside the box thinking here but I want to keep it strictly kosher. I’ll be calling the PRTB tomorrow in any event, but at least I have established I can continue to pay the original rent while disputing. If I discover I am not liable for any difference then I’ll certainly be appealing.

You can publicise the fact that the structural flaw is there. Stand outside the place holding a placard advertising the flaw and challenging the owner to sue you if you tell a lie.

Best be 200% sure the flaw really is there, if you adopt this method :wink: .

It might be a better option to give the landlord a chance to back down off the full rent increase and go for the 10% increase instead? You could tell him (in writing) that you don’t believe the full rent is justified by the market, given the structural conditions and if demanded you intend to appeal the rent increase to the PTRB. Remember, even if you appeal to the PTRB they will try to get you both to mediate a resolution anyway and you may settle for the 10% increase anyway.

I can’t find the section in the Act but I’d be surprised if you wouldn’t owe the landlord the unpaid increased rent if you lose at the PTRB. Maybe someone else knows or the PTRB can advise. They are notoriously bad at responding to emails though. Telephone contact might be the best.

I’m just thinking the process of being in dispute with your landlord can be very stressful and drawn out. Depending on his character it can rob you of your enjoyment of what’s more important - living your life and having fun. For example, he might turn up more often for “inspections” etc. He might even get in your face. If you are determined to fight, best of luck.

Very sound advice and I take it on board. The thrust of his argument is that he will easily secure the higher rent from other tenants who will clearly offer in it good faith assuming the landlord isn’t clearly aware of structural issues. To me this is unacceptable both in this circumstance and in general and without danger of financial loss I am perfectly happy to pursue it to its end. He has made no indication of compromise thus far only obtusely keeps reiterating someone else will pay the rent. I think he seems to be a little embarrassed by his position, I assume his bank are leaning on him. I’ll be calling the PRTB tomorrow for further clarity.

What’s the story if the landlord is not registered with the PRTB and refused to supply his PPS number to his tenants (thus indicating possible tax evasion)? :angry:

Mine is compliant, fortunately. :smiling_imp:

Ok. You can complain on multiple factors at the same time. If the structural issues are big enough it could be the rent you’re already paying is too high. For example PTRB case 0512-00450 was about structural issues and maintenance of the dwelling and the claimants were awarded €2500. This is on the PTRB dispute page