28 Sept 2022

Almost every Laois rental home found non-compliant by inspectors

Almost every Laois rental home found non-compliant by inspectors

Almost every single rental home inspected in Laois so far in 2022 has been found to be non-compliant.

Laois County Council has reported that of the 169 houses and apartments it's inpectors have visited so far this year, 167 required letters to be sent to the landlord to list improvements to be made.

"All private rented dwellings must comply with the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 and the local authority has no discretion in this regard," the council reported to the April meeting.

They said inspections are carried out on every type of rented property, private and local authority, whether the rent is subsidised by the HAP scheme.

The letter sent give a list of works that are needed to be carried out, and a time limit to carry them out, with consequences including fines or prosecution. 

Last month, councillors accused the council of sending "threatening" letters with "ridiculous" demands that they warned would result in landlords leaving the market and evicting tenants. Read more below.

This April, the council's housing section reported that they got back "very few communications" from landlords, and instead just technical queries, noting that there was "an understanding of the need to comply with the regulations".

"If a property owner is anxious about aspects of an improvement letter issued, they can contact the local authority and be assured that a reasonable practical approach will be taken to give them the opportunity to address the issues".

However the council added that if urgent works were not done, it can issue fines or prosecutions, to ensure the health and safety of tenants. 

The council has a target to meet of 1,181 inspections in 2022, with 191 carried out by the time of the April council meeting.

Cllr Willie Aird queried why the number told to make improvements is so high. 

"That's fierce high. Those letters meant there was something wrong. How are they so high? Is is so strict or are you ticking boxes for the department?" he said.

Angela McEvoy is the Director of Services for Housing.

"There are varying degrees in the works asked for. Some are lengthy but some are small and can be turned around," she said.

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