The 1951 Refugee Convention outlines the rights of people that are displaced, to seek asylum from persecution in other countries as well as the legal obligation of states to protect refugees, considered by many to be among the most vulnerable people in the world.
Asylum seekers who have been granted international protection or permission to remain in Ireland have the right to live and work here.
The Irish Refugee Council (IRC), formally set-up in 1992, provides much needed support and services to refugees and people seeking asylum in Ireland.
Underpinning these services is the belief of a moral responsibility to support those, who have spent years in the institutional environment of Direct Provision (DP), to secure appropriate accommodation and to assist them with the challenges of transitioning to life in our communities.
In Ireland, the change from direct provision to living independently presents its challenges and many refugees compete in a rental market where rents are at a record high and availability is at a record low.
The IRC has a number of programmes focused on housing including its ‘Housing Project’ that supports people transitioning from DP.
The project secured ten new properties donated by religious congregations, civil society and members of the public. These properties are leased to individuals and families – providing them with a secure home and affordable tenancy for a guaranteed period of time.
As a landlord, the IRC, has a legal duty to ensure its rental properties meet certain minimum accommodation standards. These standards are set out in the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Standards 2019.
To ensure its property portfolio met the required accommodation standards, the IRC engaged the Inspex team to undertake a proactive inspection programme of its nationwide properties.
'The on-site inspection, brought attention to the statutory minimum standards required when a property is used for rental purposes. The Reports provided, highlight items within a property where there is compliance and also items within a property that contravene the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2019. The inspection also highlighted areas within a property where there may be a potential health and safety concerns that come under current Building Regulations.
The Inspex staff have been great to work with and are really patient and informative. We have been really happy with the Inspex reports and these have shaped our understanding of our obligations and responsibilities to our tenants’.
Inspex hopes to continue its collaboration with the IRC supporting this housing initiative that can make a real difference in people’s lives.