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Passing of Sinn Féin PMB on standards in the Private rental sector would be a positive step for students - Kathleen Funchion TD

8 November, 2017 - by Kathleen Funchion TD

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Education and Skills, Deputy Kathleen Funchion has said that the passing of Sinn Féin's Private Member’s Motion on Standards in the Private Rented Sector would be a positive step towards securing safer and improved rental properties for students in the future.

Deputy Funchion said:

"Our motion called for greater action from central and local government and for the Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy to set out a plan for ensuring compliance with minimum standard regulations in the private rented sector.

"It also called for the adequate resourcing of local authorities so that they can put in place a more comprehensive inspection regime and highlighted the urgent need for a review of the penalties faced by landlords when they breach minimum standards.

"As witnessed in the RTÉ Investigates programme last week, there are many rogue landlords across the State abusing the trust of tenants and capitalising on vulnerable people. Many students have been living in precarious situations with uncertain terms and poor conditions due to a lack of checks and inspections of properties.

"We know that figures supplied to RTÉ Investigates under Freedom of information revealed that only 4% of the 325,000 registered rental properties in Ireland were inspected last year and of those that were inspected, more than two-thirds were not compliant with the regulations.

"There was a 100% failure rate in four districts - Kilkenny, Louth, Offaly and Limerick City and County, according to RTÉ.

"The Irish Examiner and Union of Students in Ireland reported only in August this year that significant numbers of students were being hit with unexpected rent hikes and living in accommodation without hot water or proper heating.

"USI reported that one in 10 students surveyed did not have a bath or shower with hot water, and nearly a quarter had sanitary facilities with no separate ventilation. Nearly a quarter of students experienced mould in rented accommodation, more than 20% had damp, and the same number had inadequate heating.

"Almost 90% had been inconvenienced by such matters, or by lack of maintenance, lack of natural light, dirtiness, flooding, burglary, or appliances being permanently defective.

"Their findings showed that nearly a quarter of students had moved into their accommodation because they could find nothing else, and time pressure was behind the choice of 4% of students.

"Clearly, the present level of insecurity and lack of accommodation along with poor standards has a negative impact on students’ studies and health.

"The passing of our motion tomorrow would help ensure more certainty and security for  rental properties available to students in the future.

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