Housing Regulations Minimum Standards in Rented AccomodationThursday, 17 January 2013
Housing Regulations Minimum Standards in Rented Accommodation
The Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 (the "Regulations") have been in effect since 1 February 2009 with the exception of Articles 6 to 8 inclusive which will affect existing tenancies from 1 February 2013.
What changes will be involved?
From 1 February 2013, every house let or available to let for rent as a dwelling must provide tenants with adequate sanitary facilities (Article 6), heating facilities (Article 7) and food preparation and storage and laundry facilities (Article 8).
The most significant change is the requirement that each tenant must be provided with their own sanitary facilities (bathroom/washroom facilities) within the habitable area of the house. The effect of this means tenants do not have to exit their house in order to access toilet/washing facilities and that they do not have to share bathrooms with tenants of other which is of particular relevance to multi-unit/pre-1963 properties as they traditionally contained this feature.
Another significant change is the requirement that any heating appliance must be capable of independent management by the tenant and thereby abolishing landlord regulated heating systems.
The Regulations also set out numerous household items which a kitchen must contain. It is worth nothing that a fridge and freezer or a fridge-freezer must be provided and that a fridge with an icebox will not satisfy this requirement. A four ring hob, oven and grill, microwave oven, extractor fan and adequate food storage facilities must also be provided. Access to individual or communal washing and drying machines (where the house does not contain a garden or yard for line drying) facilities must be provided within the curtilage of the building. The responsibility for maintenance of these machines is the landlord's.
Who will the Regulations affect?
The Regulations apply to the landlords of rented houses, be they single houses or houses contained in a multi-unit/pre-1963 building. A landlord is any person for the time being entitled to receive the rent paid in respect of the house. Therefore receivers/receiver managers must take note of the obligations under the Regulations where they are in receipt of rent for rented residential property as non-compliance may ultimately lead to such properties being incapable of providing a rental income and consequently may require receivers to sell such assets at a lower price than originally anticipated. In the alternative, Receivers may have to incur significant capital expenditure to ensure that their rental properties comply with legislation.
The regulations do not apply to holiday lets, sheltered housing provided by the Health Service Executive or approved body or housing provided by a housing authority pursuant to their functions under the Housing Acts 1966-2009.
How can these regulations be enforced?
The housing authority may serve an improvement notice on the landlord requiring the landlord to carry out works to bring the house up to the standard required by the Regulations. Failure to comply with an improvement notice within the prescribed time limits will lead to service of a prohibition notice directing the landlord not to re-let the house for rent until he is in full compliance with the contents of the improvement notice. The housing authority may make such arrangements as are necessary in the interests of public health and safety to bring the contents of the prohibition notice to the attention of the public.
Irish Times Article 17th January 2013 - Farewell to the humble bedsit. Please see attached article, with commentary from Michael Walsh, the Head of Property.
Originally published 7th of September 2012