A dispute which started over an electricity bill in the PRTB in 2005, finishes in the Supreme Court in 2011.
Residential Tenancies legislation introduced in 2004 with the aim of providing an informal “customer friendly” regime for Landlords and Tenants has proved to be just the opposite.
A Landlord’s dispute with the tenant of a residential property which started over an electricity bill in 2005, having gone through the Dispute Resolution Mechanism provided by the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB), of adjudication (1 day) and a full Tribunal Hearing (2 days) then moved on to Court. The case has been in the Circuit Court, the High Court and most recently the Supreme Court. It has resulted in a decision that supports the Landlord’s right to collect payment of monies due while a dispute with a tenant is ongoing. The Supreme Court gave it’s decision on the 19th July 2011, five years to the day after the Circuit Court had decided on the 19th July 2006 that the tenant should comply with an “Interim Direction” in a Determination Order made by the PRTB during the course of a partially completed Tribunal hearing.
Colm O’Rourke, Solicitor, who represented the Landlord throughout the proceedings with the PRTB and in Court, is pleased with the decision which establishes an important principle of law but is concerned that the case has demonstrated the inherent deficiencies and weakness in the system introduced in 2004. The new system which replaced remedies previously available through the District Court has shown itself to be extremely slow, expensive and inefficient. There are no plans for a radical overhaul. The difficulties that have been exposed do justice to neither Tenant or Landlord.
By Colm O’Rourke
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