Eoghan Dalton Reports
The local authority’s housing chief believes a national campaign is needed to improve standards for private rented accommodation in Waterford city. Figure provided by the City and County Council (WCCC) show that out of 54 inspections carried out recently on, 50 were not in line with fire safety standards.
Director of Housing Ivan Grimes said the Council doesn’t have the resources to launch an information campaign locally, instead saying the media and others are needed to increase standards. He responded to concerns raised by Cllr Breda Brennan (SF), about landlords’ poor compliance rate: “We don’t have a resource for information raising other than using meetings like tonight to raise awareness. It would seem to be that a national campaign, a national media campaign, around improving standards for rented accommodation would be beneficial.”
Often the reason accommodation is found to be non-compliant is due to the landlord failing to provide items such as fire blankets and fire extinguishers. The Council cannot legally compel the owners of private properties to bring the accommodation in line with the correct standards. Cllr Brennan, who has regularly drawn attention to the quality of private accommodation at Council meetings, said the gap between compliant and non-compliant properties needs to be bridged.
“I know it’s between the landlord and the tenant, but surely now the word should be getting out there that the small things, like the smoke alarms and the fire blankets and stuff, have to be provided,” she added.
The 54 properties inspected are listed by the Council as being registered to the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB). The body is now known as the Residential Tenancies Board and includes approving housing bodies as part of its work.