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Wednesday 25 April 2018

Slum landlords to be prosecuted under new reforms, Housing Minister promises

Kathy Armstrong

Slum landlords will be prosecuted under tough new reforms of the rental sector, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has promised.

The Fine Gael representative has revealed that the owners of unsafe rental accommodation will face stricter penalties.

He was speaking following exposes by Independent.ie and RTE's Prime Time Investigates, which have shown some of the overcrowded and unsafe properties that are available to rent.

Minister Murphy said: "A landlord can currently provide sub standard accommodation without being subject to a penalty.

"This has to change, and it will change as part of reform of this sector."

He said that these changes have been prioritised and the new regulations will be in place within two years.

He was speaking in the Dail yesterday following a query by Sinn Fein's Housing spokesman Eoin O Broin.

Read More: Amy Molloy: Tragedy in overcrowded properties just a matter of time

Deputy O Broin said: "(There is) no sanction under legislation for initial breaches of the law by landlords.

"A landlord who crams people in like sardines can avoid any sanctions if they comply with the initial approval notice, there needs to be a change and a comprehensive review of the sanctions for landlords who break the rules.

"It should include the clear possibility of imprisonment for landlords who put people's lives at risk for a first offence."

Mr O Broin said that local authorities will need extra funding to help facilitate them to carry out inspections.

He said: "If rogue landlords know their chances of being inspected are low, then abuses are going to occur.

"Increasing levels of inspections will require additional resources.

"An NCT stely certification would ensure that law abiding landlords were not undercut by rogue landlords."

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