‘NCT-type test needed for housing’, says housing charity Threshold

An NCT-type certification for housing should be introduced to tackle substandard rental accommodation.

Half of all private rented accommodation is estimated to have poor energy efficiency, says housing charity, Threshold.

Sub-standard accommodation is Threshold’s most common issue, with 1,432 cases nationally.

Its CEO, John-Mark McCafferty, said many of the charity’s clients have no option but to live in properties affected by dampness and condensation and which lack the most basic necessities.

“It is estimated that more than 55% of private, rented dwellings have poor energy efficiency, with a building energy rating (BER) between D and G. 

It is our experience that the most vulnerable tenants, who are on low incomes, live in the least energy-efficient accommodation, leading to health and safety concerns and energy poverty.

“Therefore, the poorest are paying most to keep warm, which is unacceptable. Improving the energy efficiency of the private, rented sector must be carried out as part of wider improvements in physical standards,” he said.

Mr McCafferty was speaking at the launch of the BuildUpon report, which focuses on energy efficiency retrofits in existing buildings, including housing.

He said the charity strongly supported the introduction of an NCT-type scheme for the rental market. This would impose standard requirements in the areas of energy efficiency, fire safety, tax obligations, and registration with the Residential Tenancy Board (RTB)

“Threshold has been advocating for the introduction of a certifications scheme or ‘NCT’ for rented housing, whereby the burden of proof for compliance with minimum standards would rest with the landlord, who would be required to provide a certificate of fitness to the local authority. The integration of such a scheme would, in our view, promote greater compliance across the board,” he said.

Mr McCafferty said the enforcement and inspection of standards in the private rented sector is “a recurring concern” for Threshold.

“Broadly speaking, we support the introduction of a gradual ban on leasing of residential properties that do not meet minimum energy performance requirements, while ensuring supply of rental properties.

However, we have concerns about using the BER rating in its current form, and would favour the establishment of minimum energy efficiency standards in the rented sector,” he said.


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