13 February 2017
By Tom Collins
The Carrigaline based TD, Simon Coveney, Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government has signed the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 giving effect to an important commitment under the Governments’ rental strategy, published in December.
The Strategy sets out a number of actions under standards with the combined aim of improving the quality and management of rental accommodation. Under the standards heading, the Minister’s Department conducted a review of the existing Regulations in 2016 to bring them into line with modern requirements with a focus on tenant safety including new measures covering heating appliances, carbon monoxide and window safety.
The regulations require landlords of rented properties, with some exceptions, to ensure that such properties meet certain minimum standards. The standards relate to, inter alia, structural condition, provision of sanitary facilities, food preparation, storage and laundry, availability of adequate heating, lighting and ventilation, safety of oil, electricity and gas installations, fire safety and refuse facilities.
The regulations come into operation generally on 1 July 2017, replacing the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009.
The Strategy also prioritises strengthening the inspection capacity of Local Authorities to increase the number and frequency of inspections of rental properties. In addition to the updated regulations, procedures for a more efficient, standardised and transparent inspections and enforcement approach across all Local Authority areas will be introduced and specific ring-fenced funding for inspections will be provided from 2018 onwards, so that by 2021 25% of rental properties will be inspected every year.
Speaking about the new standards regime, Minister Coveney said, “The focus under the rental strategy on standards is a central element in the Government’s overall housing response. The new regulations aim to ensure that properties tenants are renting are safe, efficient, durable and comfortable. Landlords will be made fully aware of their obligations through a consistent and uniform approach by all local authorities in the State, which will ensure a level playing field so that responsible landlords will not be dis-advantaged by lax enforcement of rogue landlords.”