Cork rental properties are failing inspections at an alarming rate

Cork rental properties are failing inspections at an alarming rate

CONCERNS have been raised about the quality of rental accommodation in Cork after an ‘alarming’ number of private houses failed local authority inspections in 2015 and 2016.

Almost 57% of private homes inspected by Cork City Council in 2015 and 2016 failed to meet basic standards.

The most common reasons for dwellings to fail the inspections were inadequate ventilation, structural conditions, issues with electricity and gas, and the absence of fire blankets.

The report was issued to city councillor John Buttimer who is calling for an increase in the number of inspections in the city to ensure that those living in private homes are safe and secure.

“When more than 50% of properties are failing, questions have to be asked,” Mr Buttimer said.

“We are very reliant on the private rental sector to meet the needs of the housing market in Cork at present, but we also have to make sure that people are living in good quality properties. We have to learn lessons from Priory Hall and other developments.” 

Under the inspection programme in the private rented housing sector, Cork City Council inspected 619 dwellings in 2016 and 635 in 2015.

In 2015, 71.89% of those inspected failed to meet the required standard on the first inspection.

By 2016, this figure had declined to 42.36%, a figure welcomed by the Fine Gael councillor.

Overall, 714 of the 1,254 properties inspected failed at the first time of asking, a failure rate of 56.94%.

City Hall officials confirmed that 'a high percentage' of houses pass at the second time of asking and that a third inspection is 'very rarely' required.

Mr Buttimer said, "What is encouraging is that the majority of homes pass inspection at the second time of asking so issues are being remedied as they come up, but we have to maintain high standards in rental accommodation.

"People are paying high rents and they deserve good quality. They deserve to feel safe in their homes and this extends to fire and electrical compliance."

Currently, the local authority employs three full-time inspectors who are tasked with carrying out such inspections.

Mr Buttimer said he hopes to see this number increased in the coming years.

"While we are now living in a rent-controlled environment in Cork, this wasn't the case for some time and rents were increasing faster than the rate of inflation. People expect fundamental basics in their homes and more inspectors can ensure that this is the case for even more people going forward."

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