independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Hundreds of bedsits fail fire safety tests

THE vast majority of 'old-style' bedsits checked during a blitz by Dublin housing inspectors breached fire safety and a raft of other new regulations.

A total of 589 flats in 84 houses on the North Circular Road were inspected by environmental health officers attached to Dublin City Council.

Warning letters have just been issued to landlords in relation to 483 flats for a range of breaches, including fire safety, sanitation, toilet facilities, dampness, and not having properly maintained gas and electric appliances. Of these, 220 have been followed up with notices insisting that improvements must be carried out.

New laws at the start of this month banned the most sub-standard bedsit accommodation from the rental market.

Landlords had been given a year to upgrade their properties.

Among the issues were:

• No working smoke alarms or fire blankets.

• Gas and electric appliances not properly maintained.

• Inadequate heating and ventilation.

• No proper hot and cold running water.

• Dampness.

• No proper bathroom and sanitary facilities.

A council spokesman said they planned to extend the checks to as many as 6,000 private rental flats, bedsits and apartments across the city over the next three years.

"We will take them to court unless they carry out the necessary repairs," he added.

Many of the properties concerned are mainly so-called 'pre-63' period properties, built before 1963 planning legislation came into effect.

Failure to comply with the laws can mean maximum penalties of a €5,000 fine or a six-month jail term.

Irish Independent

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