Minister pledges tougher sanctions for landlords who overcrowd properties

Eoghan Murphy says legislation will treat deliberate overcrowding as 'a very serious offence'

Minister pledges tougher sanctions for landlords who overcrowd properties

Photograph: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The Housing Minister has said he wants to prosecute rogue landlords who deliberately overcrowd their properties.

Eoghan Murphy says it is a serious offence and he is going to ensure the rules are enforced.

His comments follow a Prime Time report which found dangerously cramped conditions in some private rental accommodation.

In the Dáil last night, Minister Murphy promised change.

He told deputies: "What was witnessed was horrendous and degrading. No-one should have to live like this - no-one should be allowed live like this."

Noting that the accommodation in the report had since been closed down, he also explained that he's fast-tracking legislation to improve standards.

Minister Murphy observed: "Particular attention will be given to possible amendments [on] provisions in relation to overcrowding - both in terms of its legal definition, and the enforcement actions & sanctions applicable to such situations.

"I take the view that enabling or causing deliberate unsafe overcrowding is a very serious offence - and I will treat it as such in the legislation to come."

The minister's pledges came as Sinn Féin brought a motion last night calling for an NCT-style certification system for rental accommodation - meaning landlords would require an 'adequate compliance certificate' before renting out their property. Such a system had previously been suggested by Fianna Fáil.

Sinn Féin's housing spokesperson Eoin O'Broin also wants rouge landlords to face jail sentences.

He argued: "The current regime of sanctions needs to be reformed. It must address a broader range of offences and include penalties that are commensurate to the offence.

"This should include the possibility of imprisonment for those landlords who wilfully put people’s lives at risk."