Calls for Government to ban co-living units

Calls for Government to ban co-living units

The Government is facing calls to change laws to ban co-living units and stop them becoming "the norm" after a divisive "box apartment" development with rents of up to €1,300 a month was given the green light.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesperson Darragh O'Brien said he wants his party to demand the 2000 Planning Act is amended to prevent any further co-living units being built across the country.

An Bord Pleanála has granted permission for Bartra Capital Property to build a 208-bedroom co-living unit in Dun Laoghaire, south county Dublin, with rents of €1,300 a month.

The five-storey development has divided public opinion as it will involve en suite bedrooms of just 16.5 square metres and "communal" living areas and kitchens which critics insist will drive down standards while failing to impact on rent costs.

In its decision on the development, An Bord Pleanála noted the Government's Rebuilding Ireland plan for housing and homelessness, putting the pressure back on the Government over the decision.

Less than a fortnight ago, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy sparked outrage by claiming the developments are like "very trendy boutique hotels".

Fianna Fáil housing spokesperson Darragh O'Brien insisted law changes are needed to block further co-living builds.

"The decision by An Bord Pleanála is deeply disappointing, and the big concern now is that these type of facilities will now become the norm," Mr O'Brien said.

"Co-living units will have no effect on housing, and they will push up the price of 'normal' apartments in addition to co-living 'box' apartments.

"They are not trendy boutique hotels, they are boxes, and we need to consider amendments to the 2000 Planning Act to change the regulations and stop more from being built."

While a spokesperson for Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy declined to comment on the An Bord Pleanála decision, Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said the verdict was "shocking and disgraceful".

"These box rooms with pull-out beds will have zero impact on the housing crisis and will only mean more un-affordable, inadequate places to sleep for people."

Bartra Capital Property chief exective Mike Flannery welcomed An Bord Pleanála's "pragmatic decision based on Ireland’s need to embrace new tenure types".

"The Bord recognise that there is a place for co-living within the Irish housing market and we look forward to delivering this new and innovative form of accommodation," he said. "It is a form of accommodation targeted specifically at single professionals who do not want a single room apartment and has worked well in other cities including London, New York and Vienna."

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