Inspections throw up 'non-compliant' housing issue in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Cllr Séighin Ó Ceallaigh saw a motion passed, condemning the letting of “substandard accommodation” both in the public and private sector

Cllr Séighin Ó Ceallaigh saw a motion passed, condemning the letting of “substandard accommodation” both in the public and private sector

ALMOST nine in every ten homes looked at by Limerick council’s housing inspectors were found to be ‘non-compliant’, figures this week have shown.

Data released to members of the council’s housing committee reveal that of 1,053 inspections carried out during 2017, 926 homes were found to not comply with health and safety regulations.

Of these, 864 units inspected​ were found to have structural defects,  and 752 had issues around ventilation.

Some 648 units had fire safety issues also.​

The figures came as Sinn Fein councillor Séighin Ó Ceallaigh saw a motion passed, condemning the letting of “substandard accommodation” both in the public and private sector.​

The motion, seconded by Cllr John Gilligan, called on the local authority to commit to ensuring its own housing stock is up to standard, as well as ensuring action is taken against landlords letting accommodation of a poor nature.

Cllr Ó Ceallaigh said: “I have seen some local authority houses and the condition of them is awful. There is mould around the windows, and some are ice boxes. How does enforcement work? Some of our stock is as bad as that in the private sector. I have logged issues both minor and major, and there seems to be a refusal to deal with them.”

“​We criticise private landlords, but we need to look at our own efforts a bit.”

He said housing inspections do not take place on a regular enough basis, adding: “What is a family supposed to do if their heating does not work and the landlord says 'tough'. We need to get our act together and ensure people who pay their rent get a good service from the council.”

Fine Gael councillor Bill O’Donnell, who chairs the committee, claimed some people are living in “horrible conditions.”

Fianna Fail’s Mike Donegan said he agreed with the motion in spirit, but suggested the Residential Tenancies Board is a more appropriate body to deal with any landlord-tenant issues.​

Cllr Ó Ceallaigh said: “Private landlords are getting their pockets lined by Ras and Hap. We must look at what this is costing the tax-payer.”

And Cllr Jerome Scanlan, Fine Gael, called for an “equity balance” between public and private developments and related inspections.