Tuesday 23 December 2014

New landlord regulations will spell the end for grotty bedsits

Charlie Weston and Paul Melia

Published 02/02/2013 | 16:06

SUBSTANDARD bedsits are being consigned to history.

Landlords are now obliged to provide each tenant with a separate bathroom, a four-ring cooker, access to laundry facilities and other basic facilities , or risk being fined up to €5,000.

New rental accommodation standards will be enforced by local authorities, which will have powers to ensure that landlords are providing damp-free homes to all tenants.

The provisions had applied to new tenancies in properties let for the first time since February 2009, but all tenancies will now be required to comply with the regulations. Accommodation that fails to meet the standards cannot be rented.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCS) said it was important for landlords to ensure their accommodation was up to scratch.

"The new regulations effectively ban shared bathrooms and landlord-controlled heating systems in rented properties," SCS spokeswoman Siobhan O'Dwyer said.

"The penalties for non-compliance are a fine of €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both. The fine for each day of a continuing offence is €400. Clearly, it is in landlords' interests to ensure their rental accommodation meets the new standards."

Housing charity Threshold said the new rules would improve standards and remove the most substandard accommodation in the country.

But upgrading buy-to-let properties is likely to put investors under additional financial pressure.

Almost 27,000 of those with a buy-to-let mortgage are in arrears on their payments, out of a total of 150,000 investor mortgages.

Another 22,500 buy-to-let mortgage holders have had to have the monthly repayments reduced, with the agreement of the bank. This means that almost a third of buy-to-let mortgage holders are in trouble.

Irish Independent

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