The Residential Tenancies Act 2004 provided for major reforms of the private rented residential sector in the Republic of Ireland and established a statutory Private Residential Tenancies Board. Provisions of the Act include a dispute resolution service using mediation and adjudication, registration of tenancies, statutory rights and obligations for landlords and tenants and greater security of tenure for tenants. It also provided that rents should be set at market levels. The legislation is unique in the EU and could be a model for reform elsewhere. The Act closely followed the recommendations of a government commission which reported in 2000 and which was chaired by the author. The paper reviews the genesis of the legislation, outlines the main provisions, considers some of the practical difficulties in implementing aspects of the legislation, reports on experiences of the Private Residential Tenancies Board and presents some early reflections on the operation of the Act and its effect on the sector.