Section 176 of the Residential Tenancies Act provides that fees received by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) under the Act shall be paid into, or disposed of for the benefit of, the Exchequer in such manner as the Minister may direct. By various Ministerial Directions since 2005, a percentage of fees received by the RTB under the Act has been allocated for transfer to local authorities for the purpose of the performance of their functions under the Housing Acts in relation to private rented accommodation, including rental standards inspections.
Since 1 July 2016, the RTB retains the entirety of fees received under the Act to defray its costs; however, sufficient surplus funds were available to continue support for local authority inspections of rental accommodation until the end of 2017. Since establishment of the RTB, over €34 million has been paid to local authorities to assist them in performance of their functions under the Housing Acts, including inspections of rented accommodation, and over 185,000 inspections have been carried out.
Each local authority has been responsible for setting targets and conducting related inspections. My Department has recently written to all Local Authority Chief Executives, requesting implementation plans showing how they plan to increase inspection figures in the short, medium and long term with the objective to achieve the target by 2021 of inspecting 25% of all rental properties annually. I have secured €2.5m in Exchequer funding in 2018 to facilitate the increased inspections planned for this year on the path towards the 2021 objective.