The national housing charity, Threshold has welcomed the Government’s abstention on last night’s (07.11.17) Sinn Fein motion calling for the introduction of a NCT-style certification system on minimum standards. However, it is calling on Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy to urgently reconsider the issue of self-certification for landlords.
Threshold chair, Dr Aideen Hayden said there is no evidence that a system of self-certification would work in Ireland. It is looking for a process whereby the landlord would be obliged to prove compliance with minimum standards and fire safety before they could rent their properties. Commenting, Dr Hayden said: “Earlier this week we asked for a consensus to be arrived at in order for an NCT system of certification to be introduced. We are delighted to see that the NCT concept has been generally accepted because we believe it’s critical to changing the entire ethos of compliance within the sector.
“However, we are asking the Minister to reconsider the issue of self-certification. It has not worked in the past and Priory Hall is a case in point. If we can’t self-certify a motor vehicle, then how can we self-certify rented homes? If landlords are required to furnish BER certificates, then it should be extended to cover fire safety and minimum standards. This should not result in greater costs for the landlord.”
Threshold chief executive, John-Mark McCafferty added: “Any real change to the current system will take years and, as the Minister acknowledged in the Dail last night, we do not have that luxury. As we saw on the recent RTÉ Investigates programme, and as we see every day in Threshold, the issue of poor standards in accommodation and situations of overcrowding are at a critical level and lives are being put at risk.”
“We welcome the Minister’s commitment to put in place severe penalties for landlords who place the lives and health of tenants in jeopardy. However, these penalties, along with a definition of overcrowding, need to be introduced immediately. While reform of the Residential Tenancies Board on a number of fronts is welcome, as we have seen with the deposit protection scheme it takes far too long and vulnerable tenants cannot wait.”