The Covid-19 pandemic impacted greatly on the number of inspections of private rental accommodation last year.
Inspectors are down by almost 40% nationally, and down by half in Cork city and county, compared to the previous year.
Almost 41,000 inspections were carried out in 2019 but, due to Covid-19, that figure fell to under 26,000 last year, figures furnished in response to a recent parliamentary question from Cork TD Mick Barry show.
Inspections are carried out by local authorities to ensure that minimum standards for rental accommodation are met and any issues are addressed.
Of the properties inspected last year, 16,500 did not meet required standards and legal action was commenced in one case – this compared to 28,000 properties failing to meet standards in 2019, leading to 56 legal actions.
The impact of Covid-19 was also felt in Cork city and county where inspections fell by half compared to 2019.
Cork County Council carried out 756 inspections last year compared to 1,410 in 2019 and Cork City Council carried out 476 property inspections in 2020 compared to 1,042 in 2019.
The number of rental properties that did not meet regulatory requirements also fell, from 670 in Cork city in 2019 to 115 last year and from 1,270 in Cork county in 2019 to 741 last year.
Onsite rental inspections were not permitted when the country was under level 4 and level 5 Covid-19 restrictions although almost 1,400 virtual inspections took place nationally under a pilot initiative - mainly by Dublin City Council (1,226). Cork City Council conducted just three virtual inspections, and Cork County Council has committed to joining the pilot initiative.
The virtual inspections involve landlords receiving a checklist for self-assessment and submitting photographic or video evidence by email, while tenants are invited to raise any non-compliance issues.