All landlords of rented houses are now obliged to comply with The Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 which set down the minimum standards for rented property. If a property was rented between 1 September 2004 and 31 January 2009, the house was not required to meet the standards set out in the 2008 Regulations in relation to sanitary, heating and food preparation until 1 February 2013. Therefore, landlords of rental properties should be aware that since 1 February 2013 last, the following standards must be in place. This is at the cost of the landlord and unfortunately, may lead to increased costs in managing the rental property.
In order to assist you in ensuring that you comply with the 2008 Regulations, the main provisions are discussed below:
• Structural Condition – All houses must be in a proper state of structural repair which means that all properties must be essentially sound, with the roof, all ceilings and floors in good repair, without any serious damp or rot.
• Sanitary Facilities – Each property or unit must have, for its exclusive use, a toilet with a dedicated wash hand basin and a fixed bath or shower with a continuous supply of cold water and a facility for the supply of hot water. The bathroom must be separate from other rooms and must be separately ventilated.
• Heating Facilities – Every habitable room (does not necessarily include the kitchen) of the house must have an appliance that provides heat and the house must have an adequate facility for the safe removal of any fumes.
• Food Preparation, Storage & Laundry – Each house must have a 4 ring hob with an oven and grill, an extractor fan, a fridge and freezer or fridge-freezer, a microwave, a sink with piped cold water and a facility for piped hot water, adequate presses for food storage, a washing machine, and where there is no garden or yard, a dryer. All must be maintained by the landlord in good working order and repair.
• Ventilation – All habitable rooms must have adequate ventilation. Particular reference is made to the removal of water vapour from the bathroom and kitchen to the external air.
• Lighting – Every habitable room must have adequate natural light and all rooms must have adequate access to artificial light. The windows of all bathrooms should be suitably screened to ensure privacy.
• Fire Safety – Every house should have a fire blanket and either a mains wired smoke alarm or at least two 10-year self-contained battery operated smoke alarms. Every self-contained unit within a multi-unit building should contain a mains wired smoke alarm, a fire blanket and should have an emergency evacuation plan.
• Refuse facilities – Tenants should be provided with access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin-proof refuse storage facilities. The communal refuse facilities in an apartment block are thought to be adequate.
All these facilities must be maintained in good working order and good repair. The responsibility for maintaining these facilities rests solely with the landlord.
Local housing authorities are responsible for enforcing these Regulations. Landlords who do not comply with these minimum standards are subject to penalties and prosecution. Tenants who believe that their accommodation does not meet with requisite minimum standards can write to their local housing authority. A landlord who is non-compliant could be served with an Improvement Notice and given a specific time to remedy the breach or a prohibition notice which prohibits the landlord from renting the property if the works are not carried out in time until such time as they are remedied.
In addition, we would also remind you about your legal obligation to register any tenancy with the Private Residential Tenancies Board and of the need to obtain a BER (Building Energy Rating) certificate for any property for sale or rent