Substandard bedsits are made illegal

Sat, Feb 2, 2013, 00:00

Laws that came into force yesterday will remove the most substandard bedsit accommodation from the rental market, housing charity Threshold said.

The standards that private rented property must meet are laid out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Housing) Regulations 2008 and 2009. All the provisions applied to new tenancies in properties let for the first time since February 1st, 2009. Since yesterday, all tenancies are required to comply with all provisions.

Threshold said this would see the end of traditional bedsit accommodation and improve requirements for private rented accommodation.

Chief executive Bob Jordan said the regulations would serve to remove the “bottom layer” or the most substandard accommodation in the country. He acknowledged they involved costs for landlords but said the new rules had been flagged four years ago.

The main concern was that local authorities would carry out inspections to make sure people were not living in substandard conditions.

Some of the most vulnerable people in the country were living in bedsits, which provided very basic accommodation with no shower or bathroom and no central heating, Mr Jordan said. “This accommodation does not comply with modern standards,” he said.

Threshold expected that where landlords were found not to be in compliance with regulations, the relevant local authority would take action and take them to court if necessary.

The number of bedsits has declined from about 9,000 in 2006 to about 5,000 in 2011.

Groups such as the Irish Property Owners’ Association oppose the new regulations and say many landlords cannot afford to renovate their properties or get loans to upgrade them.