Crisis of sub-standard rental accommodation continues – Donohoe

26th May, 2010

Crisis of sub-standard rental accommodation continues – Donohoe

Dublin City Council to be commended but more needs to be done nationally

The decision, yesterday, by a High Court Judge to order the vacation of two properties in Phibsborough, Dublin 7, shows that the crisis of poor rental standards must be taken more seriously, according to local Fine Gael Dublin Central Senator, Paschal Donohoe.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy granted Dublin City Council injunctions against two rental properties in Phibsborough, both of which he ordered to be vacated by tenants, while granting permission to bring proceedings in relation to a third property owned by the same landlord.

“While this order is welcome, it is patently clear that the pressing issue of tenants being forced to live in sub-standard accommodation by landlords continues unabated.

“Last year I revealed, through information obtained from the Department of Environment, that 19% of all inspected rental properties nationwide were not meeting the minimum legal requirements and a staggering one in three rental properties in Dublin were also found to be sub-standard. This is completely and utterly unacceptable.

“New regulations were introduced at the end of 2009 to raise rental accommodation standards, however statistics indicate that the implementation of standards varies across the country. The success of these injunctions by Dublin City Council shows the need for broad and tough implementation of the new regulations, otherwise tenants will continue to suffer.

“Rogue landlords cannot be allowed to continue to destroy the quality of life for tenants and home owners across our cities and towns and Dublin City Council is to be congratulated for tackling this issue firmly.

“We must ensure that local authorities across the country are taking matters of sub-standard accommodation seriously, by enabling them to do so.

For this to happen three steps should be taken:

  • Adequate enforcement personnel must be put in place by the HSE and the Department of Environment so that the revised rental standards can be implemented;
  • The revenue raised in rental fines must be reinvested into local authorities to ensure that each one has adequate resources to tackle this issue;
  • We must continue to review standards guidelines so that they reflect the reality of the rental market.

“Below par accommodation is dangerous and has the potential to cost people their lives. We cannot afford to continue to let this issue lie.”