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55% of inspected rented properties not up to scratch – Ó Broin

9 November, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin has commented on the findings of a review by the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) on local authority inspections of rented accommodation.  The report concluded that the inspection processes currently used by local authorities is not up to scratch and is not having a sufficient impact on the standard of rented accommodation.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“The private rental inspection report is based on 2014 data which indicated that there were 285,025 registered tenancies at time, which included private tenancies, rental accommodation scheme tenancies and HAP tenancies.

“The report worryingly shows low levels of inspection by local authorities across the state and low levels of compliance by landlords. Weak regulations and a lack of adequate resources are undermining the ability of local authorities to carry out inspections and enforce standards. Of those properties that were inspected, over 15,000 in 2014, around 55% of the dwellings inspected were non-compliant with regulations.  Furthermore the report indicates that all of the eight local authorities with more than 10,000 tenancies inspected less than 5% of the registered properties in their areas.

“Even in local authority areas with relatively high inspection rates reported that non-compliance was generally high. In spite of this only 36 cases were prosecuted for failure to comply with improvement notices issued by local authorities, all of these were brought by Dublin City Council.

 “While the levels of inspection are extremely low, it is not surprising when you consider the lack of resources the local authorities were manging with. According to the report there was just a total 65 whole time equivalent staff working on tasks related to the private rented sector, with Dublin City Council accounting for ten of these staff.  Funding allocated for inspections in 2014 was also low, with €3.3m spent on functions related to the private rented sector, €1m of this on external inspections.

“It is clear from this report that the regulations need to be strengthened. Especially the Rent Book Regulations, as only twelve local authorities reported routinely checking compliance with this regulation.  The report recommends that there needs to be a review as to how compliance with this can be met with the use of electronic payment systems.

“With more and more people moving into the private rented sector, 323, 758 tenancies are now registered with the RTB, the government needs to ensure that local authorities are adequately resourced in order to carry out the required inspections. I hope the Minister will take into the account the findings of this report when formulating his rental sector strategy and will make the necessary policy changes.” 

Note: Please see link to full NOAC Report.

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