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'Exceptionally high volume' of calls to RTB leading to backlog on queries about renters' credit

Green Party TD Patrick Costello said that the RTB are overburdened and don’t have the resources they currently need.

LAST UPDATE | Feb 1st 2023, 11:28 AM

DELAYS IN PROCESSING queries to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) are having a knock-on effect for people seeking to claim the new renters’ tax credit.

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has confirmed that the RTB is receiving a “exceptionally high volume” of both calls and emails from tenants seeking information on their tenancy to claim the tax credit.

He added that there is currently a backlog for responses and that the RTB is working to address the issue.

Announced in Budget 2023, the €500 tax credit is available to all renters who have a tenancy that is registered with the RTB.

When it was announced, then Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe estimated that the credit would benefit around 400,000 people.

Currently, people are able to claim the credit for both 2022 and 2023, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirming last week that it would become a permanent budgetary measure.

O’Brien said that the high volume of queries to the RTB for tenants’ registered tenancy number has lead to delayed responses from the agency.

“The RTB is experiencing an exceptionally high volume of calls and emails, which has led to a delay in responding to some queries, including those from tenants applying for the tax credit, where the majority of tenants are contacting the RTB for their Registered Tenancy number,” O’Brien said.

He added that the agency provides this number to all tenants when their tenancy is registered with the RTB, while encouraging them to use other avenues to find the number.

Green Party TD Patrick Costello raised the issue of delays with the Minister in a Parliamentary Question, telling The Journal that the RTB has long faced issues on resourcing.

“It’s long been known that the RTB just don’t have the resources to do what they’re tasked with,” Costello said.

“We’ve taken an already overburdened body and given them more responsibility.”

He said that an efficiency review of the agency should be examined by the Government, adding that there is a need for more automation and publicly available information.

O’Brien confirmed that the RTB was working with a contractor to recruit, train and deploy new resources to help alleviate the waiting times and the backlog.

“The RTB will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that tenants are supported to apply for their credit without delay,” O’Brien said.

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