Fianna Fáil TD in Dublin Mid-West and Chair of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, John Curran has said the high rate of unsafe and substandard accommodation identified in the private rental market is another consequence of Ireland’s housing emergency.

The Deputy obtained information from the Department of Housing this month which indicates that 12,833 of the 16,261 rented properties inspected nationwide were deemed to be not meeting the minimum standards for rented accommodation.

He commented, “Private landlords, Local Authorities and approved housing bodies all have a legal obligation to comply with the appropriate standards in rented dwellings.

“Tenants are paying extortionate rents that show no sign of abating – the very least they should expect is that their accommodation meets the basic relevant regulatory requirements in health and safety.

“A property must be in a proper state of structural repair and adequately maintained inside and out, to be available for rent on the housing market.

“Many tenants avoid reporting or highlighting deficiencies out of fear that their tenancy could be affected as a result. There’s such a severe shortage of rental properties altogether that a lot of people feel forced to put up with these shoddy standards. These poor standards are a consequence of an unacceptably highly competitive market.

“It might sound extreme but failing to put in place the essential safeguards against Carbon Monoxide or fire and smoke is effectively playing with people’s lives. It’s likely to be just sheer luck that no accident and injury has happened or at least that the general public have been made aware of.

“As this housing crisis has continued we have all become aware of the desperate shortage of accommodation but this is one of the other less heard of aspects of the emergency.

“Funding was allocated last year with a target of inspecting 25% of all rental properties but the Government need to fast-track the rate of inspection if that’s to happen,” he concluded.