Article relating to Landlords and improvement notices

dodgy

New Member
Following maybe of interest to some people:

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Landlords face fines or jail for not complying with improvement notices

-FIONA GARTLAND-

LANDLORDS WHO fail to comply with local authority improvement notices may be fined up to €5,000 or face six months in jail from next month.

The Department of the Environment has told local authorities they must be prepared to pursue landlords through the courts if they breach private rented accommodation regulations.

It has also emerged that councils only inspected just over 7 per cent of the properties registered with the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) last year.

Regulations under the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, due to be enacted on November 1st, will introduce a new sanctions regime for landlords.

Local authorities will be empowered to issue improvement notices and, if they are not heeded, prohibition notices where landlords are in breach of their obligations under the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008. These standards were introduced in February for newly rented properties.

They include provisions that each rented accommodation unit has its own sanitary facilities, along with modern standards for food storage, food preparation, refuse and laundry, ventilation, lighting and fire safety.

Gardens and common areas must also be maintained as well as the outside of buildings, unless this work is being carried out by a management company.

The new regulations will affect tenancies set up before February 2009 from February 2013. However, the new sanctions regime, for enforcing both the new and older regulations, will include all tenancies from next month.

The prohibition notice directs landlords not to re-let their properties until they have complied with regulations. Where a landlord fails to comply, he may be prosecuted by the local authority and may be fined up to €5,000. Some €400 can be imposed for every additional day of non-compliance. He may also serve six months in jail.

In a circular sent to local authorities last week, the department said enforcement remains key to the success of the regulations and to eliminate sub-standard accommodation.

“When necessary, housing authorities should be prepared to pursue offenders through enforcement in the courts,” the circular said.

It said almost all local authorities had increased the number of inspections.

In 2008, councils inspected fewer than 15,000 of the more than 200,000 properties registered with the PRTB. Meath County Council only inspected 0.3 per cent or 13 of the 3,951 properties registered in its area; Sligo County Council inspected 1.4 per cent; and local authorities in Galway, Kilkenny and Fingal inspected 2.5 per cent of properties registered in their areas.

Deputy Ciarán Lynch, Labour Party spokesman on housing, said property standards were meaningless unless a proper enforcement and inspection regime was in place. The level of inspections was very poor in recent years
 

dodgy

New Member
Irish Times Article 02 Dec 2009

Rules force landlords to maintain properties

LANDLORDS WILL be forced to repair roofs, paint windows and cut the grass of their privately rented properties under new standards introduced by Minister of State for Housing Michael Finneran.

The new regulations, which have been brought into force with immediate effect, will give local authorities the power to ban property owners from renting accommodation if they fail, in the authority’s estimation, to meet the required standards.

Landlords will be required to keep their properties in a “proper state of structural repair” and ensure they are sound “internally and externally”.

Specifically roofs, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, tiles, skirting boards, gutters and windows must be well maintained and free from damp.

Gardens and all common areas must be neat and tidy, well maintained and free from debris.

A local authority that concludes that a property owner is failing to meet the standards can, in the first instance, issue an improvement notice detailing the work that the landlord must do within a specific time.

Failure to comply with the notice will result in a prohibition notice, which bans the landlord from making their property available to rent.

Where tenants are in situ, they will not have to leave the property, but if they decide to do so they will not face sanctions for breaking a lease term.

Where a landlord ignores a prohibition notice because they have sitting tenants who they are confident will not leave, they face a fine of €5,000, and a further €400 for each day they continue to breach the regulations.

The new regulations would stop property owners allowing their houses and flats to become rundown and would end the situation where a rented property stands out among owner-occupied homes because of its poor appearance.

“I find it unacceptable that in many areas the rented properties are obvious by their poorly kept facade,” Mr Finneran said.

“This new legislation specifies that the general responsibility for the external appearance of rental accommodation lies with the landlord and gives housing authorities enforceable grounds on which to deal with landlords in this regard.”

The new regulations follow the minimum standards for facilities in rented accommodation, introduced last February. These required that each house and flat has its own sanitary facilities, along with modern standards for food storage, food preparation, refuse and laundry, ventilation, lighting and fire safety. Both sets of regulations replace laws introduced 15 years ago.

The regulations are part of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 and are available from the Department of the Environment or at www.environ.ie
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