herald

Monday 23 October 2017

90pc of rentals 'below standard' in landlord blitz

In a massive clampdown on slum landlords in the city, almost 90pc of properties inspected were found to be below the minimum standard of accommodation.

Environmental Health Officers have inspected 5,984 private rented houses in Dublin and of those 5,228 were issued with enforcement notices.

This means that more than 87pc of properties were below standard.

An Intensified Inspection Programme for privately rented houses was set up in 2012 and these figures relate to inspections carried about between then and the end of August.

The work was done through a team in Dublin City Council.

"This will help to flush out slum landlords," Independent councillor Nial Ring told the Herald.

"The sheer number of inspections and with such a small number of staff is phenomenal."

He said that the primary purpose of the inspections is "to bring up the standard of private rental accommodation in old multi-unit buildings."

Mr Ring likened some of the buildings that were inspected to a "throwback to the tenement buildings."

Of the 5,984 homes inspected by the officers, they were located in 865 separate buildings.

In total however, including revisits the officers made 9,376 inspections from 2012 to the end of August, 2014.

The 5,228 properties that were landed with enforcement notices were given them because they were "non-compliant" with standard regulations.

A total of 3,392 of these notices had been complied with by last August. The number of these cases that have since been closed is 893 - 119 properties were served with prohibition notices and 86 had legal action initiated against them.

"The current Intensified Inspection Programme is scheduled to continue to March 2015," said a health officer.

BONUS

Mr Ring hopes that there can be a "bonus" effect from these inspections.

"A bonus would be if more cash could be brought into the council through the second home tax if not all of these were on the Non Principal Property Register (NPPR).

"Also if we can get landlords to register on the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) that too would be a bonus," he said.

The NPPR has now been abolished but any outstanding fees had to be paid by August 31, last.

Dublin City Council landed a €9m windfall due to penalties imposed on property owners who were late paying the controversial second home tax.

The local authority's coffers were boosted by €7.346m after property owners coughed up millions of euro in late penalty fees.

And another sum of €1.8m is due to the council after plans were put in place for people who could not afford to pay the tax or late penalties at the August 31, 2014, payment cut-off date.

The council first began a blitz of city centre apartments in April last year and issued 1,544 notices to improve conditions. The inspections were then extended to a further 7,000 properties.

These bedsits have traditionally been used by students from outside the capital while studying in Dublin but in more recent years have become homes for many of the immigrants who came to Ireland.

Under the inspection programme, the flats and bedsits cannot be re-let until they are brought up to standard, but existing tenants can remain living there while works take place.

hnews@herald.ie

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