Residential Tenancies Act 2004

Residential Tenancies Act 2004

The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 contains far-reaching reforms of the private rented sector, based on the recommendations of a Commission on the Private Rented Residential Sector published in July 2000.

A large portion of the Act will come into operation on 1 September 2004, including: improved security of tenure through a system of 4-year tenancy cycles; new tenancy termination procedures, including longer notice periods linked to length of tenancy; establishment of a statutory Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB); a new system of tenancy registration with the PRTB; voluntary renunciation of the right to long-occupation equity leases; higher penalties for offences relating to standards and registration of private rented accommodation; and extension of local authority powers to address anti-social behaviour.

Provisions in the Act for a new dispute resolution service through the PRTB instead of the Courts, involving mediation or adjudication and tenancy tribunal hearings, will come into operation later this year, as will other provisions connected with the dispute resolution process. These include provisions setting out clearly the statutory tenancy obligations of landlords and tenants and providing that landlords will not be entitled to seek a rent greater than the market rate and that rent reviews (whether up or down) may not occur more than once a year unless warranted by substantial change in the accommodation. The Act will be fully in force before the end of 2004.

The role of the PRTB, in addition to providing a State-subsidised dispute-resolution service for private sector tenants and registered landlords and operating the new tenancy-registration system, will include a range of monitoring, research, information and policy-advice functions in relation to the private rented sector.

The Act is the core element of the Government's overall programme to promote reform and development of the private rented sector. Strategic action to promote improvement in accommodation standards will be pursued, other measures to encourage development of the sector will be examined, and the legislation itself is likely to be developed further over time.

Meanwhile three key changes from 1st September include:

  • Tenancies lasting 6 month can only be terminated on specified grounds and by notice under the Act.
  • Landlords must register with the PRTB with incentives for doing so and strong sanctions for non-compliance.
  • Leases and tenancy agreements should reflect the new legislation.

A detailed summary of the main provisions of the Act is available at


For further information contact:

Private Residential Tenancies Board:
Phone: 01 8882960

Last update:23/05/2007