Minimum standards in rented accommodation
All landlords have a legal duty to ensure that their rented properties comply with certain minimum physical standards.
These minimum standards are set out in the:
What are the minimum standards
For each apartment, flat or house being rented as a separate unit, the landlord must ensure that the rental property is in a proper state of structural repair. This means that the landlord must maintain the property in a sound state, inside and out. Roofs, roofing tiles, slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, fascias, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, furnishings, gardens and common areas must be maintained in good condition and repair. They must not be defective due to dampness or otherwise.
The landlord must ensure that electricity or gas supplies are safe and in good repair, and that every room has adequate ventilation and both natural and artificial lighting.
The landlord must provide:
- A sink with hot and cold water
- A separate room, for the exclusive use of each rented unit, with a toilet, a washbasin and a fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water
- A fixed heating appliance in each room, which is capable of providing effective heating and which the tenant can control
- Facilities for cooking and for the hygienic storage of food including, a 4-ring hob with oven and grill, fridge-freezer and microwave oven
- Access to a washing machine
- Access to a clothes-dryer if the rented unit does not have a private garden or yard
- A fire blanket and smoke alarms
- Access to vermin-proof and pest-proof refuse storage facilities
In multi-unit buildings, the landlord must provide each unit with a mains-wired smoke alarm; a fire blanket; and an emergency evacuation plan. There must also be emergency lighting in common areas. For full details of rented accommodation requirements, please refer to the Regulations.
The Guide to Minimum Standards in Rented Accommodation outlines the main features.
What if my property does not meet the minimum standards?
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing these minimum standards. This includes inspection of properties. If you are a tenant and you think your accommodation is not up to standard, you can contact your local authority. See 'Who to contact' below.
Failure to comply with the minimum standards can result in penalties and prosecution. Local authorities can issue Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices to landlords who breach the minimum standards regulations.
An Improvement Notice sets out the works that the landlord must carry out to remedy a breach of the regulations. If the landlord does not do these works, the housing authority may issue a Prohibition Notice, directing the landlord not to re-let the property until the breach of the regulations has been rectified.
There may also be a role for the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), for example, where a landlord is not responding to a request to repair a heating appliance or where a tenant is using the property in such a way as to lead to a deterioration in the condition of the property and breach of a standard.
Local authorities and housing bodies
Local authorities and certain housing bodies do not have to adhere to the Regulations on laundry, food preparation and storage facilities. However, they continue to be governed by Article 7 of the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 1993 and must provide:
- facilities for the installation of cooking equipment;
- facilities for the hygienic storage of food.
If you are a local authority tenant or housing association tenant and you think that your rented property does not comply with the standards, you can make a complaint to your local authority.