herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Broken loos, mould and exposed wires found after inspections of private flats

Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.
Pictures of some of the conditions uncovered by DCC inspectors in houses.

Thousands of private rented houses in Dublin city failed to meet basic standards when inspected by council officials.

As a result of a three-year campaign of inspections by environmental health officers, more than 4,000 properties found to be non-compliant were brought up to the required standards by landlords.

"The outcome of this is that in the region of 5,000 tenants in the private rented sector are living in properties that are now fit for purpose," according to a council report.

Among the breaches of standards discovered in some homes by inspectors were:

* mould and damp conditions

*  broken stairs and floor coverings

*  broken toilets and baths and showers

*  internal rooms with no natural light

*  no hot water, no cold water

*  no heating facilities or heating controlled by landlords

*  lack of kitchen equipment such as fridges, microwave ovens, or washing machines

*  vents blocked

In multi-unit dwellings inspectors found:

* a lack of wired smoke alarms, fire blankets and evacuation plans

* exposed electrical wires and broken sockets

A three-year intensified inspection programme took place from March 2012 which targeted multi-unit old buildings which have been rented since before 1963.

More than 6,360 rented houses were inspected.

The inspection campaign was welcomed by Fine Gael Cllr Ray McAdam, chairman of the city council's rental standards sub-committee.

READ MORE: Landlords fined €5,500 for not registering homes

"I would like to see every rental property in Dublin registered and not just the individual tenancy agreements as of now," Mr McAdam said.

"I would also like to see changes whereby each rental property would have to undergo periodic NCT-type tests to ensure they are compliant with fire safety regulations, ventilation, and health standards," he said.

"More and more people are living in rental accommodation as society is changing from owner-occupied homes to rental homes in increasing numbers.

"Just as new houses have to meet certain construction standards, there should also be moves to require rented homes to be raised to the same standards," he said.

Council

"The vast majority of dwellings that were inspected by the council were found to be non-compliant and I welcome what has now be achieved in improving the living conditions of private tenants," he told the Herald.

Breaches of standards were dealt with by sending landlords letters ordering them to improve the dwellings.

When breaches were not remedied satisfactorily, further enforcement action was taken. This included probation notices being issued preventing the dwellings being re-rented once they were vacated.

In some cases, legal action was taken against landlords for failing to comply with orders made by the council.

A further breakdown of figures of inspections in the north inner city showed high proportions of non-compliance in the Dublin 1, 3, and 7 districts of the city.

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