Changes to rental rules and regulations

Standards for rental accommodation

By law every landlord must ensure that their rental property complies with certain minimum physical standards. These standards were originally introduced in the 1990’s and have been updated on a number of occasions since then. The standards are intended to improve the quality of rental properties.

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The rules apply to private and local authority housing and are the first real revision of the minimum standards required for tenants accommodate since 2008.  Many basic modern living conditions were introduced a tenant right, including the right to private bathroom, hot running water and sufficient laundry and cooking facilities. 

To date, there have been some revisions mainly regarding the phasing out of the traditional bedsit in February 2013 and more recently this month.  New updated regulations which came into effect on the 1st of July 2017 which mainly focus on improved fire safety standards for tenants and better protection against vermin.  A final ban was also introduced to ban bedsit flats stating that the bathroom must be in the same habitable space.

Recent rule changes

Every rental accommodation must have a fire blanket.  A smoke alarm must be in place on every floor of a standalone house and must be a 10-year battery operated smoke alarm.   For multi-unit’s properties (apartments and houses) that are split into flats must have a mains-wired fire detection and alarm system for each unit and in the common areas in line with the Fire Protection Acts.  Emergency lighting is also required for multi-unit properties.

All rental housing must be fitted with a carbon monoxide detector and there must be adequate air supply associated with heating appliances.  Another significant change is that all bathrooms and shower rooms must have a permanent fixed heating.

The rules also state that all safety requirements outlined must be subject to regular maintenance.

To prevent tenants falling from windows a new provision has been introduced.  Safety restrictors must be fitted to limit the size of the opening if a window is more than 1.4m above the ground level outside.

In relation to vermin, responsibility for fully protecting accommodation against rats and mice is no longer the responsibility of the tenant but that of the landlord.

The rules covering the standards for rental properties cover the following areas;

  • Structural condition
  • Sanitary facilities
  • Heating
  • Food preparation, storage, and laundry
  • Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Refuse facilities and Vermin
  • Fire safety
  • Windows
  • Bathrooms
  • Gas, oil and electrical installations
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Structural condition

All rental properties must be maintained in a proper state of structural repair. The dwelling must be essentially sound with roof, floors, ceiling, walls, and stairs in good repair and not subject to serious dampness or liable to collapse.

Sanitary Facilities

All rental accommodation must contain a toilet and wash hand basin with hot and cold water and a bath or shower supplied with hot and cold water.  These facilities must be provided in a separate room and contain separate ventilation.

Heating Facilities

All rooms must contain a fixed heating appliance (including the bathroom or shower room). The tenant must be able to control the operation of the heating appliance.

Food preparation and laundry

All rental properties should contain the following facilities:

A four-ring hob with oven and grill, a cooker hood or extractor fan, a fridge and a freezer, a microwave oven.  They should include a sink with provision of hot and potable cold water.  Sufficient kitchen units to adequately facilitate food storage is also required.

A washing machine within the dwelling unit or at least access to a communal washing machine facility within the building

In cases where the accommodation does not contain a garden or yard, a tumble dryer must be provided.


All rooms must have adequate ventilation particularly in the kitchen and bathroom to remove water vapour.  Ventilation must be maintained and good working order.  All rental housing is required to have a carbon monoxide alarm installed. 


All habitable rooms must have adequate natural lighting; all rooms (including every hall, stairs, and landing) must have a suitable and adequate means of artificial lighting. Emergency lighting, linked to fire alarm systems, must be provided in all units within a multi-unit building.

Refuse facilities

The revised regulations will require access for tenants to proper, pest and vermin-proof refuse storage facilities. The use of communal storage facilities, where appropriate, will be considered to comply with the regulations.


The responsibility for dealing with rats and mice has been switched from the tenant to landlord.


Tenants are entitled to a supply of both hot and cold water in a fixed bath or shower.  In the same habitable space, they are also entitled to a water closet type bathroom, with access to a toilet and sink.


With an emphasis on safety, windows more than 1.4m above the ground must have features installed which limit the size of opening. This is to prevent tenants falling from large windows openings.

Electricity and gas

Installations in the property for electricity and gas supply must be maintained in good repair and safe working order.

Enforcement of the regulations

Increased levels of inspections and enforcement are planned as part of the governments rental strategy.

Fire safety regulations

Multi-unit dwellings (e.g. a house divided into flats) must contain a mains-wired smoke alarm, a fire blanket, emergency lighting in common areas and an emergency evacuation plan.

Rental units that do not form part of a multiple unit (e.g. a house) must have a fire blanket and either a mains-wired smoke alarm or at least two 10-year self-contained lithium battery operated smoke alarms.

Fire extinguishers are not required by law in rental properties but are highly recommended.


The penalties for non-compliance with the regulations is a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding with fines for each day of a continuing offence.

We hope that you have found our guide useful, however, for further information please check

We can help get your property "ready to rent", call 01 2548070 for details.

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