Thursday, 15 July 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
224. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of HAP inspections that took place in County Kildare in 2020; the number of properties that were found deficient; the number that were followed up subsequently; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38904/21]
The minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019. All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these Regulations. Responsibility for enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.
The HAP scheme is underpinned by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2014. Under section 41 of the 2014 Act, local authorities are required to commence the inspection process within 8 months of HAP support being provided in relation to a particular dwelling, if the dwelling was not already inspected within the previous 12 months. Local authorities carry out HAP inspections as part of their overall private rented inspections programme.
Given the need for inspectors to enter tenants’ homes, Covid-19 pandemic restrictions have impacted on the inspection of all rented dwellings. In response to the difficulties caused by pandemic restrictions, some local authorities have been piloting virtual inspections including Kildare County Council. Kildare County Council undertook 533 rental standards inspections of dwellings with HAP-supported tenancies in 2020. Of these 484 were on-site inspections, while a further 49 were undertaken virtually. An increased budget of €10 million (a rise of 300% since 2018) has been approved to facilitate inspections in 2021.
The information requested in respect of the number of HAP properties inspected found to be non-compliant and the number followed-up subsequently is not reported by local authorities to my Department and is not available.
Annual data in respect of the level of inspections carried out by each local authority is available on my Department's website at www.gov.ie/en/publication/da3fe-private-housing-market-statistics/
The City and County Management Association’s (CCMA) Local Authority Services Frameworks for Future Covid-19 Pandemic Response did not permit on-site rental inspections from January 2021 until mid-July. This was in order to protect tenants, landlords and inspectors. The CCMA Framework is developed in accordance with Government public health guidance and restrictions and was recently reviewed in line with updated guidance and restrictions. The revised Framework issued on 13 July 2021 permitted the resumption of rental inspections from 14 July 2021.