Dublin slum crackdown finds over 90% of flats fail test

Inspection exposes broken toilets and sinks, faulty electrics as well as broken windows


Almost 90 per cent of flats inspected in a three-year Dublin City Council crack-down on low quality private rented accommodation failed to meet minimum housing standards.

However, the council said almost three quarters of those flats have since “achieved compliance” with housing legislation, following its enforcement programme.

Of more than 6,360 flats inspected from 2012 to 2015 in an effort to root out slum conditions in the city’s private rented sector, some 5,685 failed to meet basic living standards.

Half of all the flats inspected failed to meet housing standards because of fire safety problems including exposed live wiring in bathrooms, scorched wall sockets and broken fire and smoke alarms.

More than 40 per cent of the flats were in poor structural condition, with problems including broken windows, cracks in the walls, plaster falling from the ceiling and broken doors which can’t be secured.

Almost one-third had ventilation problems with mould on wall and inadequate extraction from cooking and heating sources. Other defects included inadequate heating supplies, broken toilets and sinks, rooms with no windows, inadequate cooking and laundry facilities.

Planning permission

The Intensified Inspection Programme of Private Rented Houses targeted pre-63 accommodation in the city. This refers to houses which were split into flats and bedsits before 1963 when legislation was introduced making it illegal to subdivide a house without planning permission.

Environmental health officers carried out 12,668 inspections of 6,360 flats over the three year period. Of the 5,685 substandard flats identified, 4,160 – almost three-quarters – have since been brought up to standard. Prohibition notices, banning properties from rental use, have been issued to the owners of 240 properties and legal action has been initiated against 103 landlords.

The report on the inspection programme was presented to the city council’s Housing Committee on Monday. The three-year inspection programme focused on 39 streets in the city with the largest numbers of pre-63 flats.

The largest proportion of streets were in the north inner city with 13 streets inspected in Dublin 1. Seven streets were inspected in Dublin 6, around Rathmines and Harold’s Cross and the same number was inspected in Dublin 3 around Fairview and Drumcondra.

Six streets were inspected in Dublin 7 around Phibsborough, four in the southwest inner city around Dublin 8, with one street each in Dublin 9 and Dublin 10.