As the number of cases before the Residential Tenancies Board has grown, so too has its bill for room hire in hotels in the city and further afield, for when its offices are busy.
The board spent nearly €35,600 on room hire last year. In the first six months of this year, it had already spent a little over €40,000, according to figures from the body.
That’s due to a 20 percent increase, year on year, in the number of disputes filed by tenants or landlords, said a spokesperson, as part of a response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
Not all applications will go through the ladder of hearings at the body before a final order is made; sometimes tenants and landlords make a deal, or don’t appeal decisions.
But “the rise in applications nonetheless translates to an increase in hearings requiring that external venues be sourced”, the response says.
In 2018 so far, that has included €12,722 on rooms in the Ashling Hotel and €7,179.64 on the Ormond Meeting Rooms in Dublin.
The number of hearings that the RTB has held has risen from 3,140 in 2015, to 3,837 in 2016, and 5,095 in 2017. (Those figures include all the different stages of hearings added together.)
In 2017, it took an average of 14 weeks to process adjudications, RTB figures show. That was a notch longer than in 2016, when the average length of time was 12 weeks – but still quicker than 72 weeks in 2008.The average processing time in 2017 for a tribunal hearing – which is the hearing that happens when either side appeals an earlier ruling – was 10.5 weeks, a slight increase from 9 weeks in 2016, the spokesperson said.
The RTB is extending its office space at O’Connell Bridge House in the city centre, the spokesperson said.
Once that is done, it will spend less on renting spaces for Dublin hearings, they said. “The RTB will also continue to require to rent additional hearing space.”
As well as hiring rooms, the RTB also uses rooms provided to it for free by local councils across the country, and by the Department of Housing in Wexford.
In October 2007, the RTB signed a 20 year lease for it premises at O’Connell Bridge House on D’Olier Street. “The annual commitment under this lease at year end was €500,160,” its annual report for 2017 says.