Two-thirds of rented homes now failing to meet basic standards
Two out of every three homes inspected by local authority staff fail to meet minimum standards amid growing unease about tenants being exploited by unscrupulous landlords.
Official figures reveal that not one privately rented home in Dún Laoghaire, Kilkenny, Limerick or Offaly was considered to be suitable for letting, with a failure rate of 50pc or more in 22 city and county council areas.
Stark figures from the Department of Housing show that basic amenities such as hot and cold running water and washing facilities are not being provided by some landlords, despite commanding high rents.
In 2015, the most recent year for which figures are available, 13,066 dwellings were inspected across the country. Of these, 8,440 - or 65pc - failed to meet minimum standards.
The figures come amid growing concern about unscrupulous landlords who provide sub-standard homes.
In some cases, they fail to meet minimum standards. In others, they are dangerously overcrowded.
But groups working with those affected say a lack of enforcement is hampering efforts to improve the rental sector.
Some 2,033 notices were issued to landlords to complete works in 2015, but legal action was initiated in just 27 cases.
Mick Byrne, from voluntary organisation the Dublin Tenants Association, said the standard of houses was among the main issues it dealt with.
"Often when tenants come to us with an issue which could be about rent increases, there tends to be an issue with standards too," he said.
Despite an increased focus on the private rented sector, standards don't appear to have improved in 2016.
Dublin City Council inspected 1,565 dwellings between January and September last year, of which 1,231 failed - almost 79pc.
In Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, some 273 units were inspected and just eight passed, which represents a failure rate of 97pc. In Fingal, 321 units were inspected of which 206 resulted in notices being issued to landlords, a failure rate of 64pc.
The Government has promised to increase funding for local authorities to increase the number of inspections, but not until 2018.
It is hoped that by 2021, one-in-four rental properties will be inspected every year.
Director of the Residential Tenancies Board Rosalind Carroll said that by law, landlords were obliged to keep a property in good repair.