Irish Times Property Clinic 18th day of May 2023.
Publishing Date; Thursday the 18th day of May 2023.
Q How can a landlord “keep the property adequately ventilated “ when he doesn’t live there? Lack of ventilation the experts say is the main cause of mould. Do the Housing Regulations require landlords to go to each let property and open the windows on a regular basis? If so, how frequently do you recommend?
A. Inspections of rental properties find that ventilation issues are amongst the top five found to be a problem. Issues range from inadequate ventilation facilities provided by the landlord to poor ventilation and heating management by the tenant. Part 8 of the Housing (Standards For Rented Houses) Regulations 2019 refers to Ventilation in a rented property. A landlord is required to provide their tenant with a property that has adequate ventilation and the information on how to use and maintain it.
A tenant is required to, but not limited to, maintain the ventilation in the property with the intended outcome of their comfort and good health and causing no harm to the property. Where a landlord has provided the appropriate facilities to adequately ventilate a property and the tenant actively operates these facilities, the issue of excessive condensation and mould is mitigated. Adequate ventilation is to ensure that there is a limit of moisture content so as not to contribute to condensation or mould growth and limit the concentration of airborne harmful pollutants.
Where a tenant observes appropriate personal responsibility for the property and its maintenance in conjunction with the use suitably available ventilation, this should result in reasonable diligence in maintaining a property to appropriate and safe standards.
Part F, Ventilation, of the Technical Guidance Documents, last updated in 2020, Building Regulations 2019 provides guidance on the ventilation that should be in a property for further precise reading.
There is a growing availability of Wi-Fi enabled thermostats and hygrometers suitable for residential use to collate humidity and temperature and retain instrument reading records for review on apps.
This innovation allows for evidence based information to shed light on property occupancy. Knitting this resource into a rental agreement in the additional terms for the purposes of sharing useful data between a conscientious landlord and tenant can be an effective tool to avoid ventilation related issues.
The RTB offer a free service to landlords which is voluntary, to assist them with the required knowledge of being a compliant landlord. A Better Let Accredited landlord is designed to assist landlords to understand the letting processes and responsibilities within the regulatory framework.
Paul Huberman FSCSI FRICS is a chartered property and facilities manager, and a Fellow of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.
Author: Paul Huberman of H&H Property Management Consultants Ltd
Publish Date: 18/05/2023