Minimum standards and Safety

Rented properties must meet certain minimum standards set out in legislation. Landlords must also be aware of their safety responsibilities.

All landlords are required by law to comply with the standards for rental housing and should ensure their properties are fully compliant with fire safety and minimum standards regulations for rental properties. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring compliance of minimum standards and fire safety.

If a repair or inspection needs to be carried out, a landlord should make an arrangement with the tenant to enter the property.

If a tenant believes their property does not comply with minimum standards, they should discuss this with the landlord. If the tenant and landlord cannot resolve this informally, they should contact the RTB for more information on their rights and responsibilities.

Local authorities are responsible for enforcing minimum standards. If the property is below the minimum standards and the landlord refuses to carry out repairs as required the tenant can ask their local authority to carry out an inspection and make the landlord comply with the standards where necessary.

Minimum Standards include:

  • The property must be free from damp and in good structural repair.
  • Hot and cold water must be available to the tenant.
  • Adequate heating and ventilation must be provided.
  • All appliances should be in good working order.
  • Electrical wiring, gas and water pipes are required to be in good repair.
  • Facilities for cooking preparation, storage of food and laundry including a 4 ring hob, oven and grill, fridge and freezer or fridge freezer and microwave oven must be provided. (This is not applicable to Approved Housing Body (AHB) tenancies). Click here for summary of AHB requirements.
  • Fire blanket and fire detection and alarm systems.
  • Access to refuse storage facilities.
  • Where there is no access to a yard / garden, access to communal laundry facilities must be provided
  • Additional requirements (see below) from July 2017.

 

Safety and Fire Safety

The RTB wrote to all landlords in August 2017 to update them on the Minimum Standards, including additional requirements put in place from July 1 2017 as set out below, and remind them of their responsibilities for safety, in particular fire safety.

Click here for a summary of the Minimum Standards and Fire Safety Guidance for private landlords.

If you are an Approved Housing Body, click here for a summary of the Minimum Standards and Safety Guidance specific to AHBs.

 

Additional Requirements on Minimum Standards as of July 1 2017

From 1 July 2017, when updated Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017 were introduced, the additional requirements set out below were included:

  • Windows that are located above a certain height are fitted with safety restrictors, in order to prevent falls.
  • There is a permanently fixed heater in each bathroom/shower room and these heaters are properly ventilated and maintained.
  • Each dwelling contains, where necessary, carbon monoxide detectors and alarms, which   must be suitably located.
  • Efforts must be made to prevent the infestation of vermin and pests.
  • In multi-unit buildings, there must be a fire detection and alarm system, an emergency evacuation plan and emergency lighting in common areas. It is important that fire safety equipment is maintained.
  • Information must be provided to tenants on the property, building services, appliances and their maintenance requirements.

 

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 RTB

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 responsibilities if a landlord has not carried 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 responsibilities if a tenant, by no act or omission, does not 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.