Action needed to clamp down on sub-standard conditions in rental sector- O’Sullivan

03 November 2017

Labour Housing spokesperson, Jan O’Sullivan TD, has said local and central Government must drastically increase the level of inspection at registered rental properties, and move to clamp down on rogue landlords that are operating underground.

It follows revelations in last night’s RTÉ Investigates programme of sub-standard living conditions in the private rental sector.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“I think anyone who saw last night’s RTÉ documentary was horrified by the abhorrent and sub-standard living conditions of these rental properties.

“Some of the tenants spoke of the shame they felt at living there, and how they were too embarrassed to bring friends home. It is just wrong that anyone would be taken advantage of in this way by rogue landlords out to make an easy buck.

“Clearly there are major fire safety concerns also at play here, and there is a real question as to whether a criminal investigation might be required, if peoples’ lives were recklessly endangered due to fire safety breaches.

“The RTÉ programme has highlighted two main issues regarding the enforcement of regulations in the rental market, and with unregistered rental properties, which are essentially operating underground.

“Inspections are crucial- but we also have to know who is renting out these unregistered properties that in many cases are completely under the radar.

“Under the Housing Act 1966, the local authorities already have the power to direct the owners of a house, including private landlords, not to permit overcrowding, or in cases where properties are ‘unfit for human habitation’.

“The courts wouldn’t permit such overcrowding conditions in our prisons, nor should they be allowed in the private rental sector.

“We now need to see action from central and local Government to drastically increase the level of inspection at registered rental properties, and clamp down on unregistered landlords who have been managing to go under the radar.”

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