The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, set out a series of measures to be introduced to ensure the quality of private rental accommodation by strengthening the applicable standards and improving the inspection and enforcement systems. The Strategy acknowledged the overall low rates of inspection of the private rental stock and low rates of compliance, as well as the need for greater consistency in approach to implementation of the regulations across local authorities.
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 and safety of gas, oil and electrical supply. My Department also published a guidance document to assist and support local authorities in implementing these Regulations.
All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations and responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.
The Rental Strategy recognises the need for additional resources to be provided to local authorities to aid increased inspections of properties and ensure greater compliance with the Regulations. Provision was made for €2.5 million of Exchequer funding to be made available to local authorities in 2018 for this purpose, increasing to €4.5 million in 2019 and increasing further again, under Budget 2020, to €6m next year, with the intention of ultimately achieving a targeted inspection coverage of 25% of rental properties annually by 2021.
In 2018, 28,806 inspections were carried out, including repeat or follow up inspections in some cases. This was a 47% increase on the 19,645 inspections carried out in 2017, and I expect final data for this year to show a further significant increase. My Department will continue to work with local authorities to ensure that momentum is maintained towards the 25% target by 2021.