Minister’s belated decision to finally outlaw co-living is welcome – new guidelines needed on PBSA

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
23 November 2020
  • Legislation needed to ban developers converting student accommodation into tourist accommodation.

Labour Housing Spokesperson, Senator Rebecca Moynihan has welcomed the decision by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to finally outlaw co-living but cautioned that new guidelines are needed on Purpose Built Student Accommodation.

Senator Moynihan was speaking after Minister O’Brien announced that he would amend the 2018 Planning Guidelines to seek to restrict all future commercial co-living development in Ireland. 

Senator Moynihan said: 


“I welcome this development but frankly the Minister should have moved on this as soon as he took office. Minister O’Brien’s opposition to co-living well documented and he knows well that it is not a solution to the housing crisis.


“I have been consistently calling for this as co-living developments are not a solution to the housing crisis in normal times and are even more unsuitable in the context of the Covid crisis as communal living with shared facilities makes social distancing impossible.


“Following today’s announcement Minister O’Brien needs to suspend the guidelines immediately as we have had a worrying number of applications for these tenement-like developments across Dublin in recent months.


“The Minister also needs to urgently issue new guidelines on the location and balance of Purpose-Built Student Accommodation. There are numerous luxury student accommodation builds across Dublin and we cannot allow developers to convert them into tourist apartments at a whim.


“The number of applications to convert PBSA to tourist accommodation indicates an oversupply of luxury student accommodation. He needs to ban developers applying to convert PBSA into tourist accommodation which is effectively co-living by the backdoor.


“While I welcome this announcement, the Minister now needs to move on PBSA. Unless he acts on this, my fear is that applications for ‘luxury’ student accommodation will rocket. There is a significant  shortage of decent quality, long-term one- and two-bedroom apartments in inner city Dublin and developers must understand that they cannot build student accommodation at whim and then apply to the planning authorities for a change of use to co-living by the backdoor.

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