Substandard rental accommodation is endemic - Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has commented on the RTÉ Investigates programme, due to be broadcast tonight, which highlights in incidences of sub-standard rental accommodation.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Unfortunately the practice of letting out substandard accommodation is widespread. The tenants are often also subject to overcrowded conditions which pose serious risks to their health and safety.
“The low level of inspections is a huge part of the problem. A report on local authority inspections of rented accommodation published by the National Oversight and Audit Commission last November indicated that there were a worryingly small number of inspections conducted by local authorities across the State.
“The report stated that of the private rented properties that were actually inspected around 55% of the dwellings were non-compliant with regulations. As a result only 36 cases were prosecuted for failure to comply with improvement notices issued by local authorities.
“The local authorities must be adequately resourced in order to conduct inspections. The NOAC report indicated that there was just 65 whole time equivalent staff working on tasks related to the private rented sector across the State.
“Unfortunately there are a number of unscrupulous landlords out there who in order to maximise profit are flouting health, safety and fire regulations.
“Many tenants living in sub-standard accommodation are reluctant to report problems for fear the landlord will terminate the tenancy under the substantial refurbishment loophole in the Residential Tenancies legislation.
“Sinn Féin supports housing charity Threshold’s call for landlords to prove that they are complaint with all the relevant minimum standards and regulations through an NCT type system before the property is let.
“At the same time the Minister must today make a commitment to increase resources and funding for local authority inspections.”