Minimum standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009. Minimum standards for rented accommodation are set by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG). The Local Authorities (LA’s) are responsible for inspecting rented accommodation and for enforcement of the standards.
What Are The Minimum Standards?
These regulations specify that rented property must meet minimum standards including:
- The building must be free from damp and in good structural repair.
- Hot and cold water available to the tenant.
- Adequate heating and ventilation.
- All appliances in good working order.
- Electrical wiring, gas and water pipes all be in good repair.
- Provide cooking preparation, storage of food and laundry facilities including a 4 ring hob, oven and grill, fridge and freezer or fridge freezer and microwave oven. (This is not applicable to Approved Housing Body Tenancies)
- Have a fire blanket and fire alarms.
- Have access to refuse storage facilities.
Breach of Minimum Standards
- A tenant can take a case against their landlord regarding standard and maintenance of a dwelling. You must first write a letter to your landlord, outlining the issues, and giving them a reasonable period in which to rectify the situation. If the problem persists after the letter has been sent, you may take a case against the landlord through the PRTB
- However, please note the enforcement of Minimum Standards for rental accommodation is dealt with by the various Local Authorities. If you believe that the dwelling is sub standard, you can contact your Local Authority and request that they carry out an inspection. Any subsequent enforcement against a landlord who fails to comply with the Housing (Standards for Rented Housing) Regulations is a matter for the Local Authorities. A portion of the RTB registration fees are given over to the Local Authorities to carry out such inspections but other than funding, we have no further function in relation to inspection or enforcement.
What Types of Disputes Involve Minimum Standards
Disputes that involve alleged breaches of minimum standards include the following:
- Allegations of breach of landlord obligations pursuant to Section 12 (1) (b) in which a landlord of a dwelling is obliged to carry out all such repairs necessary to ensure that a dwelling complies with the standards for housing and repairs and replacements of fittings necessary to ensure the dwelling is to a standard comparable to the condition at the commencement of the tenancy and in compliance with any such standards for the time being prescribed;
- Allegations of breach of tenant obligations - A Tenant has an obligation pursuant to Section 16 of the Act to ensure that no act or omission by the tenant results in a breach of landlord obligations, (and in particular, the landlord’s obligations under section 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992), to notify the landlord or his agent of any defects that need to be repaired and allow the landlord or a person acting on his behalf reasonable access to carry out such repairs.
- A dispute relating to the validity of a Notice of Termination - A landlord may terminate a Part 4 tenancy (a tenancy that would usually last for a period of four years) pursuant to Section 34 (5) if the landlord has to substantially refurbish or renovate the dwelling or the property containing the dwelling in a way which requires the dwelling to be vacated for that purpose.