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.

Minimum Standards include:

  • The property must be free from damp and in good structural repair.
  • Hot and cold water must be available.
  • All rooms must have adequate ventilation and heating, which tenant(s) can control.
  • All appliances should be in good and safe working order.
  • For leases of less than 10 years: Facilities for cooking preparation, storage of food and laundry including a 4-ring hob, oven, grill, fridge and freezer or fridge/freezer and microwave, and sink that provides safe drinking water must be provided. There must also be adequate storage to separately store food and cleaning products. For leases of more than 10 years: the above applies and dwellings must provide facilities to install white goods, but white goods do not have to be provided. (This is not applicable to Approved Housing Body (AHB) tenancies). Click here for summary of AHB requirements.
  • Electrical wiring, gas and water pipes are required to be in good repair.
  • Each dwelling contains, where necessary, carbon monoxide detectors and alarms, which must be suitably located.
  • In houses there must be access to a fire blanket and fire detection and alarm system.
  • In multi-unit buildings, there must be a fire detection and alarm system, an emergency evacuation plan and emergency lighting in common areas. Fire safety equipment must be maintained.
  • Where there is no access to a yard / garden, access to communal laundry facilities, such as a washing machine and a dryer, must be provided
  • All habitable rooms must have natural lighting and adequate artificial lighting.
  • Windows that are located above 1400mm must be 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.
  • Information must be provided to tenants on the property, building services, appliances and their maintenance requirements.
  • Efforts must be made to prevent the infestation of vermin and pests.
  • Access to refuse storage facilities.

 

Safety and Fire Safety

It is very important that landlords are aware of their responsibility for safety, in particular on 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.

 

Breach of Minimum Standards

A tenant can take a case against their landlord regarding standard and maintenance of a dwelling. The tenant must first write a letter to the landlord, outlining the issues, and giving them a reasonable period of time in which to rectify the situation. If the problem persists after the period of time has passed the tenant may submit an application for dispute resolution to the RTB.

Please note the enforcement of Minimum Standards for rental accommodation is dealt with by the various Local Authorities. Where a tenant believes that the dwelling is substandard, they can contact their Local Authority and request that an inspection be carried out. Any subsequent enforcement, arising from the inspection, against a landlord who fails to comply with the Housing (Standards for Rented Housing) Regulations is a matter for the Local Authorities.

 

What Types of Disputes Involve Minimum Standards

Disputes that involve alleged breaches of minimum standards include the following:

Allegations of breach of landlord responsibilities, where a landlord has not carried out repairs necessary to ensure that a dwelling complies with the minimum standards for rented accommodation. Repairs and/or replacements of fittings should be carried out when necessary to ensure the dwelling is at the same standard it was at when the tenancy began, which must be in compliance with the minimum standards.

A tenant is obliged to inform the landlord of any repairs that are necessary in a timely manner and give the landlord access to carry out those repairs.