Sunday 16 December 2018

Housing charity calls for NCT-style inspections of rental properties

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A national housing charity has called for NCT-style inspections on rented properties to prevent overcrowding in the rental market.

Diarmaid O’Sullivan from Threshold Ireland told Cork's 96fm that overcrowding is becoming a huge issue in Ireland's populated towns and citiies.

"The legislation that we have at the moment that governs overcrowding is very old. It goes back to the Housing Act 1966 and that legislation is outdated. It needs to be replaced urgently because we are seeing a growth in this phenomenon.

"We are seeing a lot of situations where up to 12 people are squashed into apartments and houses and it's quite worrying in terms of health and fire safety.

"People are paying a lot of money for sub-standard accommodation and it needs to be addressed urgently.

"We need an update on the legislation over what constitutes as overcrowding and what number of people can safely and securely be accommodated in that property."

He continued; "The overall responsibility for inspecting private residential properties lies with local authorities. The inspection regime in Ireland isn't working very well. The number of properties being inspected in Ireland by the local authorities is very low when you compare it to the size of the private rented sector."

He added that it's going to take a disaster or tragedy like a fire to bring about the change.

"Threshold has been calling to introduce a new NCT-type certification for private rented accommodation which would oblige landlords to comply with minimum standards.

"It's the Government's responsibility for legislating and updating legislation. This is an emerging problem in our cities and the Government needs to be keeping up with it."

"We want to see a regulation system for the private rented sector where this type of renting doesn't become the norm and that there is a certificate system in place so landlords before they can rent out a property can demonstrate that their properties are compliant with the minimum standards."

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