These regulations require landlords of rented houses (including flats and apartments) comply with meeting certain minimum living standards. The standards relate to structural condition, sanitary facilities, storage, laundry, heating and lighting, ventilation, safety of heating systems, fire safety, refuse facilities and pest control. The regulations came into effect on 1st July 2017.
In summary they relate to the following:
- S17:4(1) structural condition – a house to which these regulations apply (hereinafter referred to as “the house” shall be maintained in a proper state of structural repair.
- S17:4(4) Where necessary, “adequate provision shall be made to prevent harbourage or ingress of pests or vermin”.
- S17:11 The house shall have access to suitable and adequate pest and vermin proof refuse storage facilities.
The presence of pest species in a rental accommodation or commercial premises presents a serious health hazard to people. Under the housing rental standards, landlords and management companies have a responsibility to tenants to ensure premises are free of pests – birds, insects and rodents – thus ensuring a disease-free living environment.
Birds, insects & rodent pest species of concern
The presence of birds can bring many public health risks in terms of diseases which can be passed onto humans. There are more than 110 pathogens or diseases that can be transmitted to humans by birds reported to affect birds. These zoonoses can be broadly divided into air-borne, food-borne or insect-borne. Air-borne disease agents can be either pathogenic micro-organisms or dust. Causative agents that can be inhaled and all can represent a risk to human health.
Some notifiable diseases to the Department of Agriculture, Food & Marine include for example:
- Avian Chlamydiosis (aka Psittacosis)
- Newcastle disease
- Paramyxovirus of pigeons
- Avian Influenza
Other more common diseases include E. coli 0157, Salmonella, Bird Flu H5N1, MRSA, Listeria, Staphylococcus Aureus and bird mites & fleas.
Researchers at Penn Sate College of Science in the US found that common houseflies carry salmonella, e-coli and even bacteria which lead to stomach ulcers and deadly sepsis. There message is clear: “Don’t eat food if a fly lands on it, as they carry more bacteria than previously thought”. Common housefly are widespread and found wherever suitable breeding conditions exist, usually rotting, fermenting or at least moist organic material, preferably of a high protein content. Houseflies are frequently found in association with humans either indoors or taking advantage of other activities. Houseflies can transmit intestinal worms, or their eggs are potential vectors of disease such as dysentery, gastroenteritis, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis. Other insects of concern are cockroaches, bed bugs, mites, fleas, garden ants, silverfish and wasps.
Rodents: rats and mice, carry over 45 different types of diseases that can contaminate, water, food and the environment. Rodents can cause food losses to stored food and food production supply chains causing damage to packaging and contamination from urine or faeces. It only takes one mouse in a property, which can produce upwards of 125 faecal pellets and thousands of micro droplets of urine in just 24 hours.
For an environmental risk assessment of your rental property contact Ecologica Environmental on (086) 812 0435. We will provide advice to safeguard your property and tenants thus ensuring compliance with the housing rental standards and environmental health regulations. #PeaceOfMind4U 😊
Mervyn Walsh, Field Conservation Biologist