Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
182. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the number of inspections to examine the standards of rental accommodation undertaken by Kildare County Council in 2019, 2020 and to date in 2021; the number of improvement notices issued in each year as a result; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56658/21]
The Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 specify requirements in relation to a range of matters, such as structural repair, sanitary facilities, heating, ventilation, natural light, fire safety and the safety of gas, oil and electrical installations. With very limited exemptions, these apply to all private rented accommodation. All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations. Responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.
If an inspection identifies that a property has been found to be non-compliant with the regulations, it is a matter for the Local Authority to determine what action is necessary and appropriate, including the issuing of an Improvement Letter, Improvement Notice, Prohibition Notice or further legal recourse.
To aid increased inspections of properties and ensure greater compliance with the Regulations, increased Exchequer funding has been made available to local authorities each year since 2018 to enable them to build inspection capacity incrementally, with payments based on the number of inspections undertaken. Significant progress was made across the sector. The number of inspections more than doubled from 19,645 in 2017 to 40,728 in 2019. A total of €6 million in Exchequer funding was made available to local authorities in 2020 and this was increased to €10 million this year.
However, given the need for inspectors to enter tenants’ homes, pandemic restrictions have greatly impacted on inspection activity since March 2020. The number of inspections undertaken last year fell to 25,703.
In response to the restrictions some local authorities, including Kildare County Council, have piloted virtual inspections. While virtual inspection systems present certain challenges and limitations, they do offer a way of improving the standard of rental accommodation despite the pandemic. I support these initiatives and my Department has provided Exchequer funding to local authorities participating in the pilot projects.
The lifting of pandemic restrictions has permitted the resumption of on-site inspections since 14 July 2021.
The number of private rental inspections undertaken by Kildare County Council in the years; 2019, 2020 and to Q3 2021 is set out in the table below:
|Year||Physicalon-site Rental Inspections Carried Out||VirtualRental Inspections Carried Out||TotalRental Inspections Carried Out||ImprovementLetters Issued||Improvement Notices Served||Prohibition Notices Served|
|2021 to Q3||160||68||228||136||13||2 |
It should be noted that in terms of enforcement local authorities will typically try to work in partnership with landlords to ensure that any non-compliances are corrected. This is can be done outside of the more formal Improvement Letter/Notice system.
Annual data in respect of the level of inspections carried out by each local authority is available on my Department's website at: