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 Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017
What are the minimum standards
For each house let or available for letting, 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, slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, fascia’s, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, gardens and common areas must be maintained in good condition and repair.
The landlord must ensure that all gas, oil and electricity installations are maintained in good repair, and safe working order and that every room has adequate ventilation and both natural and artificial lighting.
Suitable safety restrictors must be fitted to windows through which a person could fall.
The landlord must provide:
- A water closet with a dedicated wash hand basin 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
- Where necessary, suitably located devices for the detection and alarm of carbon monoxide
- 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 smoke alarm and fire blanket
- 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.
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.
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 deterioration in the condition of the property and breach of a standard.
Local authorities and housing bodies
Local authorities and certain housing bodies have to adhere to different requirements regarding laundry, food preparation and storage facilities and must provide:
- Facilities for the installation of cooking equipment,
- Sink, with a piped supply of potable cold water taken directly from the service pipe supplying water from the public main or other source to the building containing the house and a facility for the piped supply of hot water, and an adequate draining area,
- Suitable facilities for the effective and safe removal of fumes to the external air by means of a cooker hood or extractor fan, and
- Suitable and adequate number of kitchen presses for food storage purposes.
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.
Complaints or queries regarding the minimum standards for rented accommodation should be directed to the Housing Section of your Local Authority.