Minimum Standards for Rented Accommodation
The quality of rental accommodation is critical to the success and sustainability of the residential rental sector and to its attractiveness as a long-term accommodation option for households. Residential rental properties must provide safe, efficient, durable, comfortable and environmentally sustainable homes for those who live in them. They must also be solid, stable and secure investments for those who own them.
In December 2016, the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government launched the Strategy for the Rented Sector
This Strategy commits to increase the resources allocated to the standards inspections and enforcement functions and to achieve an annual inspection rate of 25% of the rental stock by 2021.
Landlords are legally required to provide tenants with a property that provides a safe and healthy environment to live in. That means regularly reviewing the condition of the property and carrying out repairs when needed. Landlords are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the dwelling and the equipment provided with it, arising from the wear and tear associated with normal use Guidelines for Housing Authorities in the implementation of Minimum Standards in Rented Accommodation.
Tenants must also take responsibility for the property. They are required to exercise due care when using the dwelling and the equipment in it and to promptly inform the landlord when repairs are needed. Tenants are responsible for the repair of damage, either accidental or deliberate, that is not attributable to normal use.
Housing Authorities are responsible, through inspection, for determining whether a property meets the standards for rental accommodation and, where the property does not, for ensuring compliance through the use of improvement and prohibition notices and legal proceedings. Landlords and tenants are required to allow the Housing Authority access to the property to undertake inspections.
Minimum Standards for Rented Accommodation
As a landlord you have a legal obligation to ensure that your rental home meets certain minimum physical standards.
These standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2017/si/17/made/en/pdf
The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) have created a helpful guide for landlords explaining the minimum standards which is available at: https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/images/uploads/general/RTB_House_Safety_leaflet.pdf
In general, the standards apply to dwellings rented from private landlords, local authorities and approved housing bodies. However, they do not apply to holiday homes or to communal housing being let by the Health Service Executive or an approved body.
Minimum Standards include:
- The property must be free from damp and in good structural repair.
- Hot and cold water must be available to the tenant.
- Adequate heating and ventilation must be provided.
- All appliances should be in good working order.
- Electrical wiring, gas and water pipes are required to be in good repair.
- Facilities for cooking preparation, storage of food and laundry including a 4 ring hob, oven and grill, fridge and freezer or fridge freezer and microwave oven must be provided. (This is not applicable to Approved Housing Body tenancies).
- Fire blanket and fire detection and alarm systems.
- Access to refuse storage facilities.
- Where there is no access to a yard / garden, access to communal laundry facilities must be provided
- Windows that are located above a certain height are fitted with safety restrictors, in order to prevent falls.
- There is a permanently fixed heater in each bathroom/shower room and these heaters are properly ventilated and maintained.
- Each dwelling contains, where necessary, carbon monoxide detectors and alarms, which must be suitably located.
- Efforts must be made to prevent the infestation of vermin and pests.
- In multi-unit buildings, there must be a fire detection and alarm system, an emergency evacuation plan and emergency lighting in common areas. It is important that fire safety equipment is maintained.
- Information must be provided to tenants on the property, building services, appliances and their maintenance requirements.
Read more about the minimum standards, including a guide to minimum standards in rented accommodation https://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/guide_to_minimum_standards_in_rented_accomodation_sept_2017.pdf
Inspections and enforcement
Fingal County Council is responsible for enforcing these minimum standards in the Fingal area. In line with the Government’s Strategy for the Rental Sector Fingal County Council is carrying out planned programmes of inspection to ensure Fingal County Council achieves an annual inspection rate of 25% by 2021.
If you think that your home does not comply with the standards, you should first bring the problem to your landlord’s attention, whether you are renting from a private landlord, Fingal County Council or a housing association.
For advice and guidance tenants can avail of the services of Threshold, a nationwide charity that provides information and advice for tenant’s experiencing housing issues. Threshold has a free phone helpline 1800 454 454 for more information please visit https://www.threshold.ie/advice/dealing-with-problems-during-your-tenancy/standards-and-repairs
If the problem persists you can request a standards inspection by contacting us at: [email protected]
Failure to comply with the minimum standards can result in penalties and prosecution. Fingal County Council can issue Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices to landlords who breach the minimum standards regulations. An Improvement Notice sets out the works that the landlord must carry out to remedy a breach of the regulations. If the landlord does not do these works, Fingal County Council may issue a Prohibition Notice, directing the landlord not to re-let the property until the breach of the regulations has been rectified.
By email at: [email protected]