A group representing thousands of local authority tenants has called for an independent complaints body for people living in public housing.

The Community Action Network (CAN) says tenants in private housing can go the Residential Tenancies Board but local authority tenants can complain only to their landlord, the local authority itself.

CAN is calling for an independent national organisation to deal with complaints from local authority tenants as recommended by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) last year.

CAN made a collective complaint to the committee on behalf of thousands of local authority tenants in 20 locations around the State and the committee issued a response that found that the State has failed to ensure housing of an adequate standard for many families.

CAN is calling on the Government to act on the response to the ECSR ruling and has issued a report which includes a survey of tenants living in 13 local authority estates

It shows that 76% of respondents have mould in their homes, 70% report that their homes are cold and hard to heat. A further 35% report sewerage invasions and 36% report pests such as rats or mice. 

Over one in five respondents, 21%, report that a doctor has told them that their health is being adversely affected.

They called on the Government to take the issues raised within the collective complaint, and the decision of the European Committee's legal experts, seriously.

They also said that it was essential that there was a national, independent organisation to represent the needs and concerns of local authority tenants.