'NCT for Housing' Needed to Tackle Slum Landlords
27 April 2013
Threshold Chairperson, Senator Aideen Hayden calls for 'NCT for Housing' to Tackle Slum Landlords
"The revelation that over 90% of private rented flats inspected by Dublin City Council do not meet even the most basic of standards is unfortunately no surprise" said Threshold Chairperson, Senator Aideen Hayden.
"Some of these flats are in buildings that are more reminiscent of Strumpet City than modern day Ireland.
In Threshold's experience, it is not unusual to see ten or eleven doorbells on these houses of flats located between Dublin's canals. Many are in a shocking state of repair, with damp and mould growing on ceilings and walls, windowless rooms, and exposed electrical wiring. Shared bathrooms and portable heaters, such as a SuperSer, are commonplace.
Renting out substandard accommodation is a lucrative source of income for unscrupulous landlords who prey on vulnerable people. Dublin City Council and the Department of the Environment are therefore to be congratulated for tackling this problem head-on with a crackdown on slum landlords" she said.
"The time has come however for a new way of ensuring that tenants are protected" she said.
"The onus should be on a landlord to prove that a rented property is safe and meets minimum standards. I am proposing the introduction of an NCT for rented housing, rather like the system that currently exists for motor vehicles.
Before a property is rented it should be certified as "fit for purpose" with the relevant certificate displayed in plain view. At the moment, it's up to the local authority to prove that a rented property doesn't meet standards, but under this new system the onus would be on the landlord to prove that their property is compliant. Inspections under this new scheme would be carried out by a qualified professional on behalf of the landlord.
An NCT for housing would make it easier for local authorities to enforce the law and, most importantly, it would give greater protection to tenants. I will be making this proposal to the Minister for Housing and Planning, Jan O'Sullivan, in coming days" she said.