Students warned of dangers in rented accommodation

NSAI urges students to ensure their housing meets health and safety requirements

Students starting college for the first time this September have been warned of the dangers which may be found in their new homes. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Students starting college for the first time this September have been warned of the dangers which may be found in their new homes. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Students starting college for the first time this September have been warned of the dangers which may be found in their new homes, and are urged to make sure all electronic equipment they buy meets safety standards.

With 50,000 people starting third-level education for the first time and hundreds of thousands more returning to college in the days ahead, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has reminded all students to ensure rental accommodation meets minimum health and safety standards.

Landlords have a legal duty to ensure rented accommodation meets certain minimum physical and safety standards, including having two smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, fire blankets and fixed heaters, amongst other things.

The NSAI said all such items needed the CE marking to prove they met the minimum safety requirements as set out under European legislation.

“Finding appropriate rental accommodation for students will likely prove difficult this year, due to factors beyond their control. We’re asking people to be mindful of standards when they do secure a place to stay and, if necessary, to remind landlords of their obligations when it comes to providing a safe place to live,” said Geraldine Larkin, NSAI chief executive.

The NSAI also offered students advice on how to stay safe in their new homes.

It said electrical products, such as laptops, kettles, toasters, or extension leads, had to meet the required standards and display the CE mark. It also cautioned against overloading power outlets.

It reminded students that while electric blow heaters were “a great way to heat a chilly room” they were not meant to dry clothes and “definitely should not be left unattended”. It concluded by reminding people of the importance of carbon monoxide detectors and of the need to test smoke detectors’ batteries weekly.