As a landlord you have a legal obligation to ensure that your rental home meets certain minimum physical standards. Local authorities are responsible for carrying out inspections on rental accommodation and enforcing the minimum standards.
These standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations
In general, the standards apply to dwellings rented from private landlords, local authorities and approved housing bodies. However, they do not apply to holiday homes or to communal housing being let by the Health Service Executive or an approved body.
The regulations specify requirements in relation to:
- Structural Condition
- Sanitary Facilities
- Heating Facilities
- Food Preparation and Storage and Laundry
- Fire Safety
- Gas, Oil and Electricity
For properties under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, the local authority will inspect the accommodation within the first 8 months of the tenancy.
Local authorities are also responsible to conduct planned programmes of inspection of private rented properties.
If your property is identified for inspection, the Council will contact the landlord by an appointment letter in order to arrange an inspection.
A time and date for the inspection will be agreed. If the landlord intends to be represented at the appointment, the details (including the name and the telephone number) of that individual must be given to the Officer beforehand.
The landlord must notify the tenant beforehand and get permission to enter the property for inspection – the tenant should facilitate the inspection. As regards the inspection of multi-occupancy dwellings, all lettings must be made available for the inspection.
What Happens After Inspection?
After an inspection, Housing authorities can issue Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices to landlords who breach the minimum standards regulations.
An Improvement Notice sets out the works that the landlord must carry out to remedy a breach of the regulations.
If the landlord does not do these works, the housing authority may issue a Prohibition Notice, directing the landlord not to re-let the property until the breach of the regulations has been rectified.
Failure to comply with the minimum standards can result in penalties and prosecution.