Originally Posted by Lux23
I'm living in a house that is split into flats, and for the last year, we have had problems with our water. Twice this week, I had to wash using bottled water that I boiled in the kettle. The landlord comes over, has a look, says he can't see any problem and then fecks off leaving us with an unpredictable water supply. He refuses to get a plumber, and when we contacted Irish Water, they said we would need to confirm that it wasn't an internal problem which we can't because the landlord won't get a plumber.
Is there anything I can do here other than start looking for somewhere new?
Your landlord is in breach of his obligations in relation to the standard and maintenance of the dwelling which are contained in s 12(1)(b) of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004
The landlord is obliged to maintain both the structure of the dwelling and the interior of the dwelling in compliance with the standards prescribed under s 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992. The standards prescribed under s 18 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1992 are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017.
Regulation 5 of the 2017 Housing Regulations requires that the following are provided within the habitable area of the house, for the exclusive use of the house, namely: a water closet with dedicated wash hand basin adjacent thereto with a continuous supply of cold water and a facility for the piped supply of hot water, and a fixed bath or shower with continuous supply of cold water and a facility for the piped supply of hot water. The water closet, basin, bath or shower must have a safe and effective means of drainage, be provided in a room separated from other rooms by a wall and a door, contain separate ventilation, be properly insulated and secured, and be maintained in good working order.
The obligation on the landlord is not only to carry out repairs, but also to carry out the repairs within a reasonable amount of time. There is no statement in the Acts as to what is a reasonable amount of time, with cases being decided on their own facts. The Tribunal in Doody v Frenett (https://www.rtb.ie/documents/TR0815-...%20Report.pdf)
held that 16 days was an unreasonable length of time to be without the provision of hot water to the dwelling, and awarded €400 in damages for this breach.
A tenant has a choice as to whether to complain to the local authority or Residential Tenancies Board about the standard of their dwelling. Where a tenant believes that the dwelling is sub-standard, that tenant may choose to contact their local authority, to request an inspection, or in the alternative may bring a claim to the Residential Tenancies Board for dispute resolution complaining about the standard and maintenance of the dwelling. There is no requirement set out in the legislation that the tenant must have brought the need for repair to the landlord’s attention before complaining to either the local authority or the Residential Tenancies Board, but it is hard to imagine a scenario in which the tenant should not contact the landlord first. To avoid future difficulties of proof, the need for repairs should be brought to the landlord’s attention in writing.
It seems to be open to a tenant to complain to the local authority, and then to bring a claim to the Residential Tenancies Board