The local authority has issued 934 Notice of Works and Improvement Notices as a result of the inspections, which were undertaken between January 2012 and November 2014.
330 properties have been inspected so far in 2014, while 107 Notice of Works and 46 Improvement Notices have been issued.
The Council, which is responsible for enforcing the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations in Limerick City and County, says it continues to carry out inspections across Limerick on a weekly basis in order to “improve the housing standards for tenants in private rented accommodation.”
The Standards include requirements in respect of structural condition, sanitary facilities, heating facilities, food preparation, storage and laundry, ventilation, lighting, fire safety, refuse and the safety of gas and electrical supply.
“In the vast majority of cases the defects raised in the notices issued to landlords were resolved and the case closed following a re-inspection of the property by the local authority,” explained Caroline Curley, Director of Services for Home and Social Development.
“Limerick City and County Council are committed to ensuring the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations are enforced by carrying out inspections on privately rented accommodation under their remit, following up each inspection with written communication to the landlord and carrying out further inspections as needed,” she said.
“The landlord of each rented property has a legal obligation to ensure their accommodation is in compliance with the Regulations and to make repairs as necessary, subject to normal wear and tear.
“These regulations do not, however, remove the tenant’s obligations in respect of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 which requires that tenants must avoid causing damage and/or make good any damage beyond normal wear and tear,” Ms. Curley added.
Meanwhile, the Council is reminding tenants of private rented accommodation that there is a set procedure in place if they believe their accommodation is not in compliance with the Regulations.
Tenants should initially contact their landlord in order to try and remedy the issues. If it transpires that the problem has not been rectified by the landlord, the tenant may then make a written complaint to Limerick City and County Council regarding the standard of their rented accommodation.
Once a written complaint has been received and deemed by the Local Authority to require further investigation, the tenant is contacted and an appointment for an inspection is organised. If there are issues which are not in compliance with the Housing Standards, the landlord is subsequently written to by way of a Notice of Works and then if warranted followed up by an Improvement Notice and/or Prohibition Notice.
Landlords failing to comply with the statutory Notices issued are liable for prosecution and on conviction, may be subject to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both, along with a daily fine of €400 for a continuing offence. The Council also has the power to bring the contents of the Prohibition Notice to the attention of the public.