FIGURES released last week show that 97% of private rented homes inspected by Cork County Council last year failed to meet the standards at the initial inspecting stage.
At a meeting of Cork County Council, Sinn Féin Councillor Des O’Grady, who had requested the figures, described it as ‘a very damning report’ and said it was obvious that landlords are failing abysmally in meeting basic housing standards.
‘This is a very serious issue and we need a serious response from Minister Simon Coveney on this. We need a proper inspection programme in places and we need more inspectors too,’ said Cllr O’Grady.
The report revealed that out of a total of 756 homes inspected last year, 733 dwellings failed to meet the standards at initial inspection stage. The most common reasons for not meeting the standards included dampness, mildew, minor leaks, insufficient ventilation for open fires and faulty smoke alarms.
Also included in the report were the number of inspections under the HAP (Housing Assistance Payment) scheme which showed that out of 536 properties that were inspected last year, 498 failed to meet standards at initial inspection.
Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) said the report was not a failure as it was positive to see those numbers were rejected because of safety fears.
‘Rather than castigating the report at least the inspections are being carried out,’ said Cllr Murphy.
Cllr Paul Hayes (SF) said the inspections are still no comfort to people living in these sub-standard accommodation.
‘It’ still a very damning report and we need to ensure standards are bought up for people living in these houses,’ said Cllr Hayes.
Newly co-opted Council member Diarmaid Ó Cadhla asked to add an amendments to Cllr O’Grady’s motion which would include the number of official complaints made to the Council, as well as how many landlords have received formal warnings and how many were removed from the rental market. Cllr O’Grady agreed to the amendments and County Mayor Seamus McGrath said the Council would contact Minister Coveney on the matter.