The minimum standards for rental accommodation are prescribed in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017. They specify requirements in relation to a range of matters, such as structural repair, sanitary facilities, heating, ventilation, natural light, safety of gas, oil and electrical supply and fire. 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.
Following enactment of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, local authorities have a strengthened legislative framework available to them which provides for the issuing of Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices where landlords are in breach of their obligations. Under Section 34 of Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992, any person who by act or omission contravenes the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017, fails to comply with an improvement notice, or re-lets a house in breach of a prohibition notice, will be guilty of an offence and shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both. If the contravention, failure to comply or re-letting is continued after conviction, the person will be guilty of a further offence on every day on which the contravention, failure to comply or re-letting continues and for each such offence shall be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding €400 per day.
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.
The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (the DCCAE) has established an Advisory Group to examine the feasibility and implications of setting minimum thermal efficiency performance standards for properties offered for rent or lease in the residential sector. The Group, on which my Department is represented, will advise DCCAE on how best to progress energy efficiency upgrades in the rental sector and on the approach to public consultation on the issue. Key considerations will focus on appropriate approaches to regulation, and the timescale for introduction of any requirements, as well as any associated potential supports.