I read about new laws and standards for people renting property, stating that there needed to be certain basics such as a washing machine. I live in a small studio apartment which does not have one and up to now I have been using a local laundry. Should I ask my landlord to supply one?
The legislation governing minimum housing standards in Ireland is the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009.
Certain provisions of the regulations were phased in over a four-year term which concluded on January 31st 2013. As and from February 1st 2013 all existing rental properties must now comply fully with the regulations.
In your case, the issue is Article 8 of the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 (S.I.534/2008): Food Preparation and Storage and Laundry.
Your property, provided it is not exempted under certain criteria, should have a washing machine or access to a communal washing machine facility in the curtilage of the building and where there is no exclusive use of a garden or yard for the property a dryer must be provided.
The enforcement of the regulations rests with the local authorities. Where non-compliance is found there is grounds for a fine of up to €5,000 or imprisonment of up to six months or both. The financing of the enforcement and inspections is done by revenue generated from the Private Residential Tenancies Board tenancy registrations.
If it is unclear, following an inspection of the property as to whether or not the property is in compliance, your landlord may be required to provide the local authority with evidence that he is in compliance with the regulations.
I would strongly recommend that you familiarise yourself with the regulations and visit both citizensinformation.ie and environ.ie so that you may inform yourself of the standards. In the interest of keeping an amicable relationship with your landlord you might prefer to raise the matter with him directly.
Unfortunately for your landlord, ignorance is no shield from non-compliance with the regulations, and it would be in his or her interests to act promptly to resolve your concerns. One would argue that four years is time enough to provide you with the basic minimum standards.
Paul Huberman is a member of the Property & Facilities Management Group of the SCSI