Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Sinn Féin has published a new bill today that aims to ban co-living housing developments across the State.

Former housing minister Eoghan Murphy changed planning laws in 2018 to allow for the controversial living arrangement, which sees tenants share kitchen and living facilities while renting a small private bedroom.

Sinn Féin says their bill will outlaw co-living and lower standards in build to rent accommodation, with the party’s housing spokesperson Eoin O’Broin saying that current legislation allows for unacceptable living conditions.

The idea that anybody thinks it’s a good idea to rent out living spaces, and that would have a bed, a kitchenette and a toilet in the equivalent space of a car park for €1,300 a month just, I think isn’t living in the real world.

“The current co-living regulations allow for living spaces of 12 square metres, that is the average size of a car parking space, and the current price range for what we’ve been told is going to come on the market later this year is €1,300,” he said.

“The idea that anybody thinks it’s a good idea to rent out living spaces, and that would have a bed, a kitchenette and a toilet in the equivalent space of a car park for €1,300 a month just, I think isn’t living in the real world.”

He said the proposed legislation would also remove lower design standards for build to rent apartments.

“Government policy rightly wants people to move into apartment living, that’s necessary both in terms of density and land use and meeting our climate change obligations,” he said.

“But the idea that renters should have lower standards than owner occupier apartment dwellers simply makes no sense.

“Why you should be able to have more apartments per lift shaft, why there should be less storage space, why there should be less car parking, should be more studio apartments in build to rent rather than in build to buy apartments.”

The Opposition’s bill also proposed to remove the ability of a single minister to change planning law without a vote and the involvement of local authorities and the Oireachtas.

The bill would amend the current Planning and Development Act 2000 by deleting the section referring to co-living and repeal the Build to Rent and Sharing Accommodation planning rules.

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