Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Barry Cowen TD has called for Local Authorities to be strengthened and expanded to tackle problems in the private rented sector.
The Deputy is calling for a new NCT style test for private rented accommodation to be established to ensure all units meet minimum standards before going onto the market.
In addition, a national inspections regime should be established by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government outlining the need for a clear regularity of inspections.
His call comes in light of an RTE documentary highlighting serious cases of negligence by landlords in the sector, which is due to be aired tonight.
Cowen said, “There are over 175,000 landlords across the country with some 325,000 tenancies registered with the Residential Tenancies Board.
“Over 20% of people in Ireland live in the private rented sector. However, the scale of this shift has not been met with sufficient powers and resources to regulate it.
“Shocking breaches in standards of decency and health and safety appear to be becoming all too common across the country. We need to ensure that each local authority is equipped to inspect units to ensure they meet the minimum criteria.
“Fianna Fáil has called for a new NCT style test for accommodation to ensure that renters know each unit is up to standard. Issuing a Local Authority Quality Accommodation Certificate once every three years would help to build up a strong level of quality homes.
“The certificate should be based on a points system across a range of criteria such as insulation, water supply, quality of Households’ conveniences etc. The new certificate system would be similar to the NCT or BER system and would help ensure the highest standards are maintained in rental accommodation. Renters can use the certificate and rating to assess the quality of the house.
“This has to be backed up by a new national inspection system.
“These inspections should be used to ensure that shocking breaches of standards are prevented. Anyone breaching the basic minimum standards must be subjected to sanctions and the unit brought back to standard before it is rented out again.” Deputy Cowen concluded.