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This information is for private landlords.
Landlords are responsible for making sure rental properties meet minimum fitness and safety standards. This means you must follow certain laws to make sure the property is safe for your tenants.
If your tenants think the property is unsafe, they can report the issue to the environmental health department of their local council.
Basic fitness standards
For a rental property to meet minimum fitness standards, it must have:
- working drains
- a piped supply of drinking water
- an easily accessible toilet and wash hand basin
- either a bath or shower with hot and cold water
- adequate facilities for lighting, heating and ventilation
- proper space to prepare and cook food, including a sink
The property must not:
- be in serious disrepair
- have structural problems
- have dampness which could impact occupiers’ health
If your property was built before 1945, you must apply for a fitness certificate to prove it meets these standards, unless:
- the Housing Executive gave you a renovation grant within the last 10 years, or
- your property is a registered or licensed house in multiple occupation (HMO)
If you plan to rent your property as a HMO, you must comply with additional standards. A HMO is a property rented to three (or more) people from three (or more) separate families or households.
Environmental health department inspection
If your tenants think the property falls below these standards, or is unsafe, they can ask the environmental health department to inspect it.
An environmental health officer will visit the property to carry out a fitness inspection.
Depending on how serious the issue is, the council may first try to deal with the issue informally. The officer will encourage you to carry out repairs within a reasonable timeframe.
If you do not respond or complete the repairs needed, the council can serve you a notice of unfitness or of disrepair.
Failing the fitness inspection
If your property fails the inspection, the council will serve you with a notice of unfitness. Your tenants will also get a copy of this notice.
If you are served a notice of unfitness, the amount of rent you can charge will be restricted.
Passing the fitness inspection but property in disrepair
If the officer determines that the property meets basic fitness standards, but is in a state of disrepair, they can issue a notice of disrepair. Your tenants will also get a copy of this notice.
Being served a notice of disrepair does not affect the amount of rent you can charge
Carrying out repairs and reinspection
The notice you get will include:
- a list of repairs you must carry out to bring the property up to standard
- the deadline to finish the work by
The deadline should be at least 21 days from the date on the notice. The council should reinspect the property after the deadline passes. They will check if the work has been properly carried out.
If you have not completed the work, the council may decide to take enforcement action against you. This could lead to a costly court case.