Sunday 11 December 2016

Local authorities cut back on checks of private rentals

Published 29/12/2015 | 02:30

Re-letting times for local authority housing
Re-letting times for local authority housing

The number of private rented homes inspected by local authorities has fallen despite more people living in the sector.

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The Performance Indicators in Local Authorities report says that just over 18,500 inspections took place in 2014, down from 21,200 in 2013.

The level of inspections ranges from one in three properties in Cavan and South Dublin, to less than 1pc in Louth, the worst-performing county.

The average rate is 7pc, or one in 14.

The drop in inspections comes despite a sharp growth in the market, with more than one in seven households now renting their homes.

According to the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC), as of December 31, 2014, there were 285,025 registered tenancies across the country, but just 18,557 were inspected over the course of the year.

The number of tenancies is higher today, with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) saying as of the third quarter of the year, some 320,224 tenancies were registered. "Given the escalating number of households in the private rented sector, any reduction of activity in this area is an unwelcome development," the NOAC said in the report.

"The number of inspections as a percentage of the tenancies registered with the PRTB was at least 30pc in the case of Cavan, South Dublin and Roscommon county councils.

"NOAC acknowledges the high level of performance by Cavan County Council who have maintained an inspection rate equating to more than 30pc of tenancies every year since this indicator was introduced in respect of 2008 activity."

The NOAC also noted that the level of inspections by councils operating in urban areas was "mixed".

The urban areas make up around 56pc of all tenancies.

The highest rate is in South Dublin with 34pc of units inspected.

This was followed by Waterford City and County which inspected 886 units, or 12pc of the entire rental housing stock.

However the rate in Cork City is 8pc, and this drops to just 1pc in Galway City - the lowest inspection rate of any urban area in the country.

The lack of scrutiny comes despite tenants paying more to rent their properties.

The most recent data from the PRTB showing that rents increased by 8.6pc in the year to September, with Dublin rents now just 2.3pc lower than the 2007 peak.

Irish Independent

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