* To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the estimated first and full year cost of doubling the number of whole-time equivalent staff working on the private rented sector functions in local authorities.
* To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the estimated first and full year cost of doubling expenditure on the private rented sector functions in local authorities.
The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, set out a series of measures to be introduced to ensure the quality of private rental accommodation by strengthening the applicable standards and improving the inspection and enforcement systems.
On 1 July 2017, updated regulatory standards, the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017, came into effect. These Regulations focus on tenant safety and include new measures covering heating appliances, carbon monoxide and window safety. In August, my Department published a guidance document to assist and support local authorities in implementing the new Regulations.
All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with these regulations and responsibility for the enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority, previously supported by a dedicated stream of funding provided from a portion of the proceeds of tenancy registration fees, collected by the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB).
Since establishment of the RTB, over €34 million has been paid to local authorities to assist them in the performance of their functions under the Housing Acts, including the inspection of rented accommodation. Over 185,000 inspections were carried out during this period. The Department offers a subvention to local authorities to carry out inspection of properties under the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations with funding dispersed on the basis of €100 per inspection carried out and €50 per follow-up inspection that achieves compliance.
However, the Rental Strategy recognises the need for additional resources to be provided to local authorities to aid increased inspections of properties and ensure greater compliance with the Regulations. Provision has been made for an additional €2.5m in 2018, with the intention of providing further increases each year in the period to 2021 to facilitate a targeted inspection coverage of 25% of rental properties annually.
Under section 159 of the Local Government Act 2001, each Chief Executive is responsible for the staffing and organisational arrangements necessary for carrying out the functions of the local authorities for which he or she is responsible. Consequently, it is a matter for each authority to consider what level of staffing and resources are appropriate in order for the authority to fulfil its statutory and regulatory functions. in this context, it is not possible to provide the specific information sought.
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