Minimum standards for rented housing
Your landlord must make sure that your rented home meets certain minimum standards. This is a legal requirement.
These standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019. In general, the standards apply to homes rented from private landlords.
Not all standards apply to homes let:
- By local authorities
- By approved housing bodies (AHBs)
- For a minimum lease period of 10 years under a tenancy agreement
They do not apply to communal housing being let by the HSE or an approved housing body.
You can read more about these standards in the Government's Guidelines for Housing Authorities in Implementation of Minimum Standards in Rented Accommodation.
What are the minimum standards for rented accommodation?
For each apartment, flat or house being rented, the landlord must ensure that the property is free from damp and is structurally sound internally and externally.
This means that roofs, roofing tiles, slates, windows, floors, ceilings, walls, stairs, doors, skirting boards, fascia, tiles on any floor, ceiling and wall, gutters, down pipes, fittings, furnishings, gardens and common areas must be kept in good condition. They must not be defective because of dampness or for any other reason.
The landlord must also ensure that:
- Electricity or gas supplies are safe and in good repair
- Every room is adequately ventilated with heating that tenants can control
- Every room has both natural and artificial lighting
Standards for laundry, food preparation and food storage
Private landlords must provide their tenants with access to:
- A washing machine
- A clothes-dryer if the property does not have a private garden or yard
They must also provide facilities for cooking and for the hygienic storage of food, including:
- A 4-ring hob with oven and grill
- A cooker hood or extractor fan
- A fridge and freezer, or a fridge-freezer
- A microwave oven
- Suitable and adequate storage cupboards for storing food and non-food items (for example, cleaning products)
- Sink with mains water supply of cold drinking water, piped supply of hot water and draining area
If you are renting from a local authority, an approved housing bodies, or have a minimum lease period of 10 years under a tenancy agreement, your landlord must provide:
- Facilities for the installation of cooking equipment
- A cooker hood or extractor fan to remove fumes, if necessary
- Suitable and adequate cupboards and storage cabinets for storing food and non-food items (for example, cleaning products)
- Sink with mains water supply of cold drinking water, piped supply of hot water and a draining area
All landlords must provide:
- A sink with hot and cold water
- A separate room, for the exclusive use of each rented unit, with a toilet, a washbasin and a fixed bath or shower with hot and cold water. These facilities must be maintained in good working order and the room must be well ventilated.
- A permanently fixed heater in each bathroom or shower room. These must be working well and be properly maintained.
- A fixed heating appliance in each room, which provides enough heat for the room and can be controlled by the tenant. There should also be suitable facilities for removing fumes.
- A fire blanket and fire detection and alarm system
- Access to vermin-proof and pest-proof rubbish storage facilities. The landlord must also make efforts to prevent the infestation of pests and vermin at the property.
- Safety restrictors on windows that are located above a certain height, to prevent falls
- Information on the property, building services, appliances and their maintenance requirements
- A carbon monoxide alarm which must be suitably located and maintained
In multi-unit buildings, the landlord must provide each unit with:
- A suitable fire-detection and alarm system
- A fire blanket
- An emergency evacuation plan
- Emergency lighting in common areas
The RTB has a useful guide on the minimum standards for rented properties.
Damage to your possessions
Your landlord's responsibilities do not normally cover you for any damage to your possessions. For example, your landlord is responsible for keeping the water pipes in good repair, but if your belongings are damaged because of burst pipes the landlord is not responsible for replacing your belongings. Also, the landlord's insurance policy is unlikely to cover your personal belongings.
Several insurance companies provide contents insurance for private tenants.
The housing charity Threshold has useful information and guidance for how to deal with repairs.
Inspections and enforcement
Local authorities are responsible for enforcing these minimum standards in rented accommodation.
If you are renting accommodation under the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) scheme, the local authority will inspect your accommodation within the first 8 months of your tenancy unless the accommodation has already been inspected in the last 12 months. Local authorities also carry out planned programmes of inspection of rented properties.
If you think that your home does meet these minimum standards, you should tell your landlord first. This applies, whether you are renting from a private landlord, a local authority or an approved housing body.
If you think your accommodation is sub-standard or your landlord refuses to carry out repairs that are needed, you can ask your local authority to make your landlord comply with the standards. See 'Useful contacts' below.
If your landlord fails to meet the minimum standards, they can be penalised and prosecuted. Local authorities can issue Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices to landlords who breach the minimum standards regulations.
An Improvement Notice outlines what the landlord must do to fix the breach of regulations. If the landlord does not do these works, the local authority can issue a Prohibition Notice. This notice tells the landlord not to re-let the property until they fix the breach in regulations.
You can read more information about disputes between landlords and tenants.
The RTB provides information on the rights and responsibilities of the public, tenants and landlords.
You can contact your local authority for more information about minimum standards.