Dublin City Council to launch overcrowding reporting campaign
Council is reliant on receiving complaints, according to deputy chief executive
The extreme overcrowding in rental accommodation was highlighted in an RTÉ Investigates programme. Photograph: RTÉ
Dublin City Council is to launch an advertising campaign in the coming weeks to encourage the public to report incidents of sub-standard accommodation and overcrowding.
The council’s deputy chief executive and head of housing with the council Brendan Kenny said the issues of extreme overcrowding in rental accommodation, highlighted in an RTÉ Investigates programme, were a relatively new phenomenon in the city.
“While there have been ongoing issues with standards in rental accommodation, these are improving, but the issue of gross overcrowding is a new phenomenon over the last 12 months in the context of the housing crisis.”
The council was reliant on receiving complaints in order to identify issues of overcrowding, Mr Kenny said.
“We undertake proactive inspections of properties where there our RAS [Rental Accommodation Scheme] and HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] tenants are living, but we don’t generally know about overcrowding unless it is reported, and we get very few reports.”
Tenants paying to live in overcrowded private houses, generally do not make complaints he said. “These tenants are mostly young foreign nationals, some of whom may not be in the country legally, and many would be afraid of losing their accommodation if they made a complaint.”
However, he said acknowledged there had been delays in responding to complaints made as part of the RTÉ programme.
“There was a looseness in administration there that is being tightened up. In the next couple of weeks we will be launching a media campaign, which we had planned before the RTÉ programme, with a dedicated phone line to encourage people to report issues to us.”
He said that even if the council increased its inspections, unscrupulous landlords would face few consequences. “There are no fines for landlords for overcrowding, and for data protection reasons we can’t report them to the Revenue Commissioners.”