Over 90% of private rental homes in Fingal ‘fail inspection’

Private properties reviewed in 2019, 2020 below minimum State standard, council told

More then 90 per cent of private rental properties inspected in Fingal in 2019 and 2020 failed to meet minimum housing standards regulations, a meeting of Fingal County Council has heard.

Fingal Cllr Kieran Dennison called on people renting private properties to contact the council when their landlords are not complying with basic standards following a report which found nine out of 10 properties inspected over a two-year period did not meet minimum accommodation standards. While the vast majority of these non-compliance issues were considered “minor” and could be “remedied quickly”, Mr Dennison expressed concern that some landlords were not complying with the law.

“Landlords and tenants need to be better informed of their responsibilities and know that inspectors will be calling,” said Mr Dennison. “I would favour an NCT-style system whereby properties have to be inspected yearly, or two yearly and certified so when advertised for letting.”

Mr Dennison was speaking following Monday’s Fingal County Council meeting which heard that private rental inspectors had recommenced since July 26th in line with State reopening.

Senior executive officer Mary Egan, who presented on the report’s findings, emphasised that 85 per cent of non-compliance was minor in nature and included blocked gutters, faulty extraction fans and fire blankets not mounted on walls. They were “important but not life threatening” issues, she said. Ms Egan also noted that Fingal had achieved its target of carrying out inspections of 25 per cent of all registered private rental accommodation by 2021.

Also on the agenda was a discussion about strategic housing developments in the Fingal area. Cllr John Walsh’s call for the council to withdraw, “as a matter of urgency”, the legislation and statutory guidelines facilitating such developments was universally agreed upon by all councillors present at the zoom meeting. Mr Walsh’s call also included the restoration of decision making power over all housing developments “to local authorities to ensure local democratic accountability and community led planning”.

Fingal Mayor Séana Ó Rodaigh, who chaired the meeting, said it was obvious strategic housing developments in Fingal had been “an abject failure” while Mr Walsh described the process as “fundamentally wrong”.

Morton Stadium

Earlier in the meeting, chief operations officer at Dublin City University (DCU) Declan Rafferty requested that the council agree to a 40-year lease of the Morton Stadium so the university can take over operations and development of the national athletics stadium. Mr Rafferty said DCU had discussed the plans with Clonliffe Harriers Athletics Club which uses the stadium and said the club's rights would be "fully protected".

He said the stadium was "under utilised during the day" and that "we need to pool our resources to enhance athletics in Ireland from juvenile level all the way up to the Olympics".

DCU is committing €600,000 towards the cost of developing a new running track, upgrading the gym and improving health and safety on the grounds, he said, adding that the total cost of this upgrade would probably reach €1.2 million.

The university has already started discussions with individuals in Asia about the possibility of raising additional funds through the State's Immigrant Investor visa programme, said Mr Rafferty. Asked how much the university would need for the long-term development of the stadium, Mr Rafferty said costs would probably reach €15 million.

While concerns were raised about the accessibility of Morton Stadium to people in other parts of the city, councillors agreed to lease the land to DCU for the development of the sports facilities.