Dealing with a Rogue Tenant


As there are rogue landlords there are rogue tenants. There are tenants who have no intention of paying their rent as it falls due and who calculate that the time it takes the landlord and the RTB to actually remove them will give them a free space to live for perhaps a year or more with a very limited downside (Loss of deposit) . A person who makes this calculation is not likely to be worried about keeping the apartment or house in good condition.

Note to rogue Landlords: if you have not registered the tenancy, and then find you have got rogue tenants, you have a real problem. They could refuse to pay the rent or make ridiculous excuses. They could put on loud music day and night and annoy the neighbours, and their dog might even start chewing your sofa. A rogue landlord cannot take action against a rogue tenant because, almost certainly, the rogue tenant already knows all about the RTB registration system.

Unfortunately, for the vast majority of landlords who are registered, compliant, and providing a vital service, getting rid of a determined bad tenant can be difficult, slow and expensive. The steps are as follows:

  1. If the tenant is in arrears of rent, firstly  Serve a (14 Day) Warning Notice for Failure to pay rent. This notice must state how much rent is due, give the tenant reasonable time to pay it, and outline what will happen if they don’t pay. The tenant must be allowed reasonable time to pay the arrears (most leases will require a minimum 14 days). 
  2. After waiting the 14 days,  If the tenant fails to pay the rent due as warned, the landlord can serve a 28 day notice of termination to the tenant.
  3. In due course a Dispute resolution meetings with the RTB will be set up. The tenant may not show up at the meeting. A second meeting may have to be arranged.
  4. If the RTB, after hearing the facts, finds in landlords favour: it will issue a determination order on the tenant.
  5. The tenant can appeal to the RTB Tribunal and have the case reheard.
  6. If the Tenant loses, they may leave, or may decide not to leave.
  7. If the tenant stays on, despite the determination order, then the landlord needs to retain a Solicitor to begin District Court proceedings.
  8. The District Court confirms the RTB order and orders tenants to pay the rent arrears and costs.
  9. The rogue tenant may leave and pay, or may decide to stay and not pay.
  10. If the tenant does not comply with the court order, the solicitor must apply to Court for an execution order, and retain a sheriff to actually take charge of repossession of the property, and yes, eviction of the tenant.
  11. There will be further costs to the landlord for the execution order, and for retaining the Sheriff. The Sheriff will communicate to the tenant that they must leave of face physical eviction. The tenant may chose by agreement to vacate ahead of the date chosen by the sheriff, or may stay on until the sheriff actually takes possession.
  12. In these circumstances arrears will likely never be paid and there is a possibility of property damage. But the rogue tenants are finally gone.

For a true case history: