Councils seek to outsource private rented properties inspections

Calls for better, more frequent, inspections of buildings have grown since Priory Hall incident

The aftermath of a fire at the Metro hotel in Ballymun in March this year.  Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The aftermath of a fire at the Metro hotel in Ballymun in March this year. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Fingal County Council and Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council are conducting a “market-sounding exercise” with regard to the inspection of private rented properties.

This means both councils are likely to outsource some inspection services in their council areas.

This scoping exercise – “informal and outside any tendering process” – is in advance of a tender competition for inspections which is expected to go live in October.

There is a requirement on each council to carry out initial inspections to 15 per cent of private rented properties in their administrative area next year – this amounts to about 5,500 inspections. In addition, the rate of inspections increases to 25 per cent of properties by 2021.

Compliance

Both councils point out that follow-up inspections may be required to ensure compliance with regulations.

Calls for better, and more frequent, inspections of buildings have grown since 2011 when more than 250 people were evacuated from the Priory Hall apartment scheme near Donaghmede in north Dublin because of fire-safety risks.

Concerns then emerged in 2015 over fire safety at the high-end Longboat Quay apartment scheme in the south Dublin docklands. Other boom-era buildings have been found to be substandard in terms of safety.

Dublin City Council has stepped up fire-safety inspections recently – 2,300 in 2016 compared to 1,204 in 2015 – while the number of fire-safety notices it issued last year more than doubled on 2016’s figure.