HUNDREDS of privately-owned properties rented to social housing tenants continue to fail basic standard inspections in the city and county.
Figures obtained by The Echo show only 3% of homes rented to people on the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) that were inspected by county council officials so far this year satisfied basic standards related to heating, fire safety and gas, oil and electricity installations.
County Hall’s five full-time and two part-time inspectors have visited 492 home in 2019 to date. Just 16 homes were given full certifications.
In the city, approximately 120 homes with RAS and HAP tenants were visited by inspectors but only a quarter of homes were given full certification. City Hall officials said the most common reasons for failure were inadequate ventilation, a lack of carbon monoxide alarms and no window restrictors.
The city council currently employs three inspectors. There are over 20,000 rental properties across the county.
The Government’s Rebuilding Ireland Strategy for the Rental Sector states that local authorities should have an inspection rate of 25% by 2021.
City Councillor Fiona Ryan said the low number of inspections allows landlords to get away with meeting standards.
“This is not surprising. There were similiar figures in recent years with high levels of inspection failures," she said.
“It paints a very poor picture around the greed that has infiltrated all aspects of the rental market.
“Minimum standards are very basic and I have actually seen properties pass that I was shocked passed because they had fire safety issues. There is something far more endemic going on in the private rental market and shows the danger of the Government’s complete inaction on addressing the housing crisis by building public housing on public land.
“The Government needs to provide local authorities with more funding so they can hire more people to carry out more inspections on these properties. It’s not good enough. HAP inspections are statutory obligations and they’d be expected within six months of rental and city council doesn’t come within light years of achieving that because they don’t have the staff,” she added.
Under housing regulations, rented properties must meet minimum standards relating to structure, sanitary facilities, food preparation, storage and laundry facilities, heating, lighting, ventilation and safety of oil, electricity and gas installations — as well as fire safety and refuse facilities.
The regulations were updated in July 2017 to cover heating appliances, carbon monoxide, and window safety.