Landlords could face NCT-style tests

In a bid to stamp out sub-standard rental accommodation

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Plans are afoot to introduce a dedicated national inspection unit to tackle sub-standard rental accommodation in Ireland.

According to the Irish Examiner, it would mean landlords would face 'NCT-style' inspections of their properties.

A licensing system would ensure that properties are up to a certain standard for people to rent them, replacing the existing, extremely limited checks local authorities and the HSE currently carry out.

Housing agency Threshold has said the main query they receive is regarding standards and repairs, and that the problem of poor living standards in increasing.

The Dublin Tenants' Association noted that the current housing crisis is putting renters at a disadvantage, as disreputable landlords feel they can get away with poor maintenance such is the demand for homes.

Patrick Bresnihan of the association told the paper:

"Minimum standards is one of the main issues that tenants raise. A lot of landlords haven’t invested in their properties since the recession."

The Irish Examiner also revealed that whilst there were 285,025 private tenancies registered in 2014, a mere 13,913 dwellings underwent routine inspections that year.

Half of those were found to breach the minimum standards with damp, mould, cold, and fire safety being the main violations.

The Real Estate Alliance (REA) reported last week that the average age of a first-time home buyer has risen by five years over the past decade, to 34.

REA chairman Michael O'Connor said:

"House ownership is now off the table for many couples earning average salaries, with their only hope of purchase now coming from an injection of outside help, usually from close relatives.

"From a Dublin price perspective, the rules don’t make sense, with the combination of the deposit rates and the multiplier falling far short of our average three-bed semi price in Dublin city and county of €334,000."