The return of AirBNB and previously ‘For Sale’ properties have added to the rental stock and brought back some value for hard pressed tenants.
What are the Minimum Standards to which a Tenant is entitled to in Rented Accommodation?
Minimum standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017. These regulations specify requirements in relation to a range of matters such as structural repair, absence of damp and rot, sanitary facilities, heating, ventilation, light and safety of gas and electrical supply.
Full details are available on the Department’s website: www.housing.gov.ie.
What are the main features of the Regulations?
All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations and enforcement of these regulations is the responsibility of each Local Authority.
- Article 4 – Structural Condition
All rental accommodation must be maintained in a proper state of structural repair. This means that the dwelling must be essentially sound, internally and externally, with roof, roofing tiles and slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, fascia, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, furnishings, gardens and common areas maintained in good condition and repair and not defective due to dampness or otherwise.
There must be suitable safety restrictors attached to a window which has an opening through which a person may fall and the bottom of the opening is more than 1400mm above the external ground level. Suitably safety restrictors must secure window sufficiently to prevent such falls. Lockable restrictors that can only be released by removable keys or other tools should not be fitted to window opening sections.
- Article 5 – Sanitary Facilities
All rental accommodation must contain the following self-contained sanitary facilities:
Water closet with dedicated wash hand basin with hot and cold water
Fixed bath or shower; supplied with hot and cold water. These facilities must be provided in a room separate from other rooms by a wall and door and contain separate ventilation.
- Article 6 – Heating Facilities
All habitable rooms must contain a fixed heating appliance which is capable of providing effective heating. The tenant must be able to control the operation of the heating appliance. Where necessary, suitably located devices for the detection and alarm of carbon monoxide.
- Article 7 – Food Preparation and Storage and Laundry
All rental accommodation shall contain the following self-contained facilities:
4 ring hob with oven and grill
Provision for the effective and safe removal of fumes to the external air by means of cooker hood or an extractor fan
Fridge and freezer
Sink with a draining area
Adequate number of kitchen presses for food storage purposes… Cont’d…
…Washing machine within the dwelling unit or access to a communal washing machine facility within the curtilage of the building
In cases where the accommodation does not contain a garden or yard for the exclusive use of this accommodation, a dryer must be provided.
- Article 8 – Ventilation
All habitable rooms must have adequate ventilation, maintained in good repair and working order. Kitchens and bathrooms must be provided with adequate ventilation for the removal of water vapour to the external air.
- Article 9 – Lighting
All habitable rooms must have adequate natural lighting
All rooms (including every hall, stairs and landing) must have a suitable and adequate means of artificial lighting. The windows of every room containing a bath and/or shower and a water-closet shall be suitably and adequately screened to ensure privacy
- Article 10 – Fire Safety
(i) Multi-unit dwellings are required to contain fire detection and alarm system, an emergency evacuation plan and emergency lighting in common areas.
(ii) Rental units that do not form part of a multiple unit must have suitable, self-contained fire detection and alarm system and a suitably located fire blanket. Smoke alarms should be either mains-wired with battery back-up or are 10-year self-contained battery-operated smoke alarms.
- Article 11 – Refuse Facilities
The Regulations require access for tenants to proper, pest and vermin-proof refuse storage facilities. The use of communal storage facilities, where appropriate, will be considered to comply with the regulations.
- Article 12 – Electricity and Gas
Installations in the house for gas, oil and electricity supply including pipework, storage facilities and electrical distribution boxes must be maintained in good repair and safe working order.
There must also be, where necessary, provision for the safe and effective removal of fumes to the external air.
- Do the regulations apply to all rental accommodation?
Yes, the regulations apply to all rental accommodation with the exception of the following:
· Holiday homes
· Accommodation provided by the HSE or an approved housing body containing communal sanitary, cooking and dining facilities. This kind of accommodation usually houses people with disabilities or the elderly and provides support for people with special needs who require assistance to live in the community
· Demountable (e.g. mobile homes) housing provided by a housing authority
· Accommodation let by a housing authority or an approved housing body will be exempt from the requirements for food preparation, storage and laundry purposes. In this kind of accommodation the tenant usually provides these goods, retaining ownership of them when they move to new accommodation (All other articles of the Regulations apply to both housing authorities and to approved housing bodies.)
When did the new regulations come into effect?
· The Regulations took effect on 1st July 2017.
Do the regulations apply to older protected structures” or listed buildings?
· Listed buildings are required to meet the requirements of the Regulations. The owner or occupier of a protected structure is entitled to ask the planning authority …Cont’d… …identify works that would, or would not, require planning permission in the case of their particular building. Landlords will be advised to contact the conservation officer in the local authority for advice when considering undertaking works.
How are the Regulations enforced?
· Responsibility for the enforcement of the regulations rests with the relevant local authority and it is a matter for each individual local authority to decide the specific details of its enforcement strategy and inspection arrangements. Local authority inspectors inspect rental properties for the purpose of ensuring they comply with the regulations and where a property does not comply, can engage a series of sanctions against a landlord.
· An Improvement Notice sets out the works a landlord must carry out, within a set timeframe, to remedy any breach of the regulations. Where an Improvement Notice is not complied with, a housing authority may issue a Prohibition Notice, which directs a landlord not to re-let a property until the breach of the regulations has been rectified.
· A person who obstructs an authorised person in the lawful exercise of their powers or who contravenes the regulations is guilty of an offence. Failure to comply with an Improvement Notice or a Prohibition Notice is also an offence.
· The maximum fine for an offence is €5,000 and €400 for each day of a continuing offence. Where a person is guilty of an offence under this Act, the court shall, unless there are particular reasons for not doing so, order that person to pay the costs and expenses incurred by the housing authority in relation to the prosecution of the offence
Contact details for your local authority, along with a technical information guide and copies of the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations, can be found on the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Governments website www.housing.gov.ie
Caden Grimes Estates is a licenced Estate Agent,
PSRA Nr 001883.
Providing commercial and residential Sales and Lettings, Lettings Management and Corporate Relocation.
The RTB (PRTB) announced last year that they are planning to commence annual registrations. They are doing this as ” The introduction of annual registration is important to assist the RTB in monitoring and regulating the sector”.
In fact landlords are obliged to notify any “significant change” to the tenancy (eg rent increase, change of lead tenant etc) to the Board, but that is impossible to police, so it would seem that they are placing the onus on the landlord or Agent to keep their database current.
It is expected that this new requirement will come into force this year.
The RTB has been consistently upgrading its regulations to professionalise the letting market over the last few years and we can expect that to continue.
For further information call Gerry 01 9014480 or mail info@CGestates.ie
Caden Grimes Estates is a licenced (PSRA # 001883) Real Estate Agent based in Dublin, Ireland.