A Dublin City Council spokesperson has admitted that it deserves criticism of its handling of substandard rental accommodation.

It follows an RTÉ Investigates programme showing gross overcrowding and fire safety issues in three different rental properties.

Assistant Chief Executive Brendan Kenny said some emails warning of the conditions which were sent to the council by RTÉ Investigates were not opened by staff.

Speaking at the November meeting of the city council, he said that a new dedicated phone number and email is being set up to allow tenants or members of the public to report breaches of regulations.

Mr Kenny said the powers of enforcement are not robust enough and that the legislation needs to be updated because at present an unscrupulous landlord "walks away with a big profit" while the tenant can face homelessness after the rental premises is closed down.

He pointed out that there is no definition of overcrowding in the latest legislation - Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017.

City councillors were unanimous in condemning the unscrupulous landlords involved with many calling for massive fines or jail for such offences.

Assistant chief fire officer Denis Keely told the meeting that 36 different premises are currently being investigated for fire safety defects.

He said in general the majority of landlords act quickly to rectify the situations.