Govt fails to regulate private rental sector despite promises – Donohoe

18th September, 2008

Problems include substandard accommodation and rogue landlords

Fine Gael Senator Paschal Donohoe, Dublin Central, has criticised the Department of the Environment for failing to do anything to better regulate the private rental sector despite promises to do so earlier in the year.

“Media coverage of the problems in the private rental sector led to the Department of the Environment making many promises to introduce new regulations and laws to deal with the issue of substandard accommodation and rogue landlords. However there is still no sign of either the new regulations for setting revised rental standards or any information from the Department on how the current standards are being enforced.

“The Government committed to revising current rental regulations to tackle many of the issues experienced by tenants and residents. For example, current standards do not require a cooker or running hot water in both the kitchen and bathroom. It is also clear that there are lengthy delays in tackling issues experienced by individual tenants and landlords.

“The Department of the Environment has engaged in a consultation process on new guidelines but there is no deadline for their publication and no plan for how they will be better implemented.

“There is also an appalling lack of information on how current guidelines are being implemented. The only information that is available dates from 2006 and points to a crisis in the poor implementation of the current law. Only 36 cases were taken against landlords who failed to meet housing standards in all of Ireland in that year. The same statistics showed that nearly 1 in 5 rental properties were not meeting the current regulations. The Government has still not published these statistics for 2007 despite the well-documented problems in the sector.

“Issues in relation to the quality of private rental accommodation are causing huge difficulties for residents and tenants in Dublin and across Ireland. Despite the Government’s commitments earlier in the year it has done nothing and made no difference to the lives of many who are desperately in need of help”.