97% of Rental Properties Inspected Failed Safety Checks in 2016

By Seamus Whelehan

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97% of private rental properties inspected by Cork County Council last year failed to meet minimum standards.

In a report to full council on Monday 27 February, the authority’s director of housing said many had failed as a result of structural or ventilation issues.

Of 756 rental units inspected 733 failed because they lacked proper fire safety or ventilation.

In some cases, the accommodation had insufficient ventilation for open fires and solid fuel or lacked proper smoke alarms or fire blankets.

Local authorities are expected to review all its rental properties once every 4 years.

Cork County Council say they are only provided with enough resources from government, to carry out inspections on 5% of privately rented properties.

Many Councillors described the report’s findings as “damning” and called on the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to increase funding.

Councillor Des O’Grady who requested the report said it was “abysmal.” “We need to contact the housing Minister and get a proper inspection programme in place.”

While Midleton based Councillor Noel Collins said he was recently invited by tenants to view their €1,100 a month property. He said the accommodation was in a condition he would consider “unfit for human habitation.”

“The scarcity of social housing is playing into the hands of millionaire landlords and leaving tenants exploited by these unscrupulous vultures”

“In 2015 13,056 dwellings were inspected across the country, of these 65% failed to meet minimum standards” commented the Independent Councillor.

Mr Collins said there was “an enforcement blackhole.” “The most vulnerable party is in charge of implementing policy. The reality is tenants that are afraid of becoming homeless will not in most cases be challenging landlords.”

Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey said he found it difficult to meet the government’s target of an annual inspection rate of 25%

He said he had the full time equivalent of 2.4 people to carry out inspections and lacked the necessary finances and resources to reach the target.

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