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Co-living space being advertised in Dublin. Barta Capital
rent pressure zone

Minister to assess how co-living developments can be brought under rent legislation

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has said he has always been opposed to co-living developments.

GOVERNMENT WILL ASSESS how co-living developments with licence agreements may be brought under rent pressure zone legislation. 

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told reporters in Government Buildings today that he was opposed to co-living developments when in opposition and banned them when he entered government. 

In 2020, a decision was made to amend the 2018 Planning Guidelines to restrict all future commercial co-living development in Ireland on the back of a report on co-living from officials in his department. 

The report raised concerns that the number of developments were become less niche and were now playing a greater role in the country’s housing system, and that many potential sites were outside the city centre. 

Prior to the ban, a number of co-living developments had already received planning permission and therefore were permitted to proceed.

The Business Post recently reported that Bartra Capital has started to advertise its first co-living units in Ireland, in Dun Laoghaire, at €1,880 a month, which is nearly €800 more than it told planning authorities the units would cost to rent.

While the minister would not comment today on the specific development, he said there are very few co-living developments coming on stream. 

The minister said some of the co-living developments may have license agreements and do not fall under rent pressure zone (RPZ) legislation.

“Certainly what I’ve said is that where these developments and where there may be license agreements as to how that can be brought in under the legislation, I believe that’s possible,” he said. 

Such changes were made previously with student accommodation developments that were also under licence agreements, said the minister.  

“We were told that wasn’t possible [with student accommodation]. It was possible, we were able do it and we provided protection for students,” he said.

Speaking about rent controls, O’Brien said “that’s certainly something that I am looking at”.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he never took the view that co-living was “going to be the solution to the housing crisis”.

However, he said he believed it could be an option for people who don’t want to house share or for people who come to Ireland and do not want to house share while they search for somewhere else to live. 

Former Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy faced criticism for his defence of such developments in the past, after telling a conference that such blocks offer an “exciting” choice to young workers. However, in 2020 he said O’Brien was right to restrict the developments. 

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