More than half of rented homes fail to meet standards
More than half of private rented homes are failing to meet basic standards because of fire safety and ventilation issues.
A report from the local government watchdog says the current system of inspecting homes is not fit for purpose, and is "not having a sufficient impact" in bringing unscrupulous landlords to task.
Of the 15,000 private dwellings inspected in 2014, 55pc failed to meet the necessary standards.
In seven councils - Louth, Galway County, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Offaly, Carlow, Kilkenny and Limerick - all properties inspected were not fit for purpose.
The National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) also reveals some bank-appointed receivers were not willing to enforce basic accommodation standards.
Around 30pc of all homes inspected were earmarked for social housing, with the remainder let on the open market.
The NOAC raises serious concerns about follow-up inspections, and found that almost half of all councils inspected less than one in 20 units.
With the exception of one notice issued by Louth, only Dublin City Council issued prohibition notices which banned the letting of the property once the existing tenancy expired.
"Around 55pc of the dwellings inspected were non-compliant, with improvement notices issuing in 1,403 or around 9pc of premises inspected," the 'Review of local authority performance of private rented houses regulations functions' report says, adding the bulk of these improvement notices were issued in Dublin City and Sligo.
"Fire safety and ventilation were the most common deficiencies found by inspectors. Given the level of non-compliance noted it appears that inspection alone will not lead to on the ground improvements."
The report drew on data supplied by each of the country's 31 local authorities. Criticising the quality of the information, the NOAC said the overall findings suggested the current inspection process was "not having a sufficient impact on the standard of rental accommodation".
- The highest number inspected were in South Dublin (2,402), and the least in Louth with just 21.
- Almost half (15 of the 31) of local authorities inspected less than one in 20 dwellings. Fewer than one in 50 were inspected in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown, Galway City, Galway County, Limerick, Louth, Meath, Offaly.
- The highest inspection rate was in Cavan at 34pc, the lowest was in Louth at less than 1pc.
Just 65 staff were employed nationally in 2014 to complete inspections, despite there being more than 285,000 registered tenancies.
And while some €3.3m was allocated to inspect dwellings in 2014, the report said that Cavan, Donegal, Limerick, South Dublin, Waterford and Wexford received more money than was spent.