Threshold has called for an urgent review of Ireland’s outdated legislation on overcrowding in response to last night’s RTE Prime Time programme highlighting some of the dangerously overcrowded, slum-like conditions within the Irish private rental sector.
“What was revealed in this Primetime programme about overcrowding and people paying up to €200 to sleep on the floor of an apartment is disturbing but unfortunately not surprising”, said John-Mark McCafferty, Threshold CEO. “It is often the most vulnerable who are found to be living in such accommodation. We know that bunk beds are common across rental accommodation in Dublin, with people doubling, tripling, and quadrupling up in rooms because of the lack of alternative options.
“The appalling conditions that many renters live in, where their very lives can be at risk from poor standards and overcrowding points to a glaring need to review outdated legislation, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to note though that overcrowding is not simply an issue relating to Covid 19, and has been a serious problem in the private rented sector for many years.
“While there are minimum standards covering some aspects of private rented accommodation, the regulations are silent on how many people should occupy the accommodation provided. Previously a landlord had to state the number of occupants and record the estimated floor space but this obligation was removed by section 62 of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2015.
“It is imperative that a definition of overcrowding for private rented accommodation is inserted into the existing minimum standards to prevent some landlords from taking advantage of the housing shortage by ‘warehousing’ tenants”.