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Councillor Johnny Flynn

Lack of co-operation stalling inspection of rented properties

CONCERN has been expressed over the inspection rate for private accommodation rented with the support of the Council.

The matter was raised by Councillor Johnny Flynn at the monthly local authority meeting, on foot of the Chief Executive’s Report.

The Fine Gael member noted that while 1,000 private rental inspections had been completed, some had not been able to proceed.

It is very disappointing to read that a lot of scheduled inspections are being frustrated, genuinely or otherwise, at the last minute,” he said. It is important to send a message that this work is being done on behalf of tenants. Unfortunately, they are not cooperating In some cases.”

Director of Housing, Anne Haugh acknowledged that progress with inspections could be frustratingly slow”.

We rely on the cooperation of landlords to access properties,” she said. All relevant resources are being applied to meet the target. Over 1,000 have been done for 2022.”

Ms Haugh said that virtual inspections are also being facilitated. We can invite landlords, but are relying on them to take part and to return material,” she said. We need inspections to go ahead as planned and not to be cancelled.”

Responding, Councillor Flynn said: Tenants shouldnt be afraid either, inspections are to their benefit.” 

The Chief Executive’s Report for April outlined that the agreed target for private rented inspections to be undertaken by the Council this year is 1,025.

“The Council has a work programme which identifies a roadmap to achieve the target number of inspections,” it said.

“It is acknowledged that a significant ramping up of inspections is required to achieve the target for 2022. That said COVID continues to impact our inspection programme as tenants remain nervous of permitting access to their homes.

“In addition some tenants are not available when we call to the property to carry out a scheduled inspection in spite of the written arrangement and follow up confirmation closer to the inspection date and appointments are also being cancelled by tenants at short notice which impacts on resourcing alternative inspections.

During the month of March to date 69 virtual inspections packs were issued of these nine landlords engaged in the process. 19 physical inspections of properties were undertaken during this period. 

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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