Housing Minister refuses to commit to co-living ban

Housing Minister refuses to commit to co-living ban
Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien said: "I don't want to ban something if it has an effect that it's going to affect student accommodation." Picture: RollingNews.ie

The Housing Minister has refused to commit to banning co-living.

Darragh O'Brien said he is "not a fan" of co-living spaces, in which numerous people live in one room flats sharing a kitchen and living area, and believes "the market and people themselves will decide" it is not a housing solution.

"We're reviewing it, none have been built," the minister said at the unveiling of new O'Cualann Housing Development in Ballymun.

"I'm not a fan of it, and I haven't changed my view on it.

"I don't think it's a housing solution.

"The only thing I want to just check and make sure is that purpose-built student accommodation, that it doesn't have the unintended consequences of a full ban because some of that is shared living spaces in purpose-built accommodation."

The battle over co-living has reemerged after the Fumbally Lane development in Dublin’s Liberties, was given planning permission by Dublin City Council on March 30.

The plans involve a 69 room co-living complex. In the same month, JSC Properties Ltd submitted a planning application to the council for a development above Dublin's Jervis Centre, with 127 18 square metre co-living spaces.

The programme for government did not include a commitment to banning co-living however the Green Party, Sinn Fein and People Before Profit have all spoken out against such developments in the past, with some making comparisons to historical tenement living.

"None have been built," the minister added.

"My view hasn't changed but I think I should be allowed to do the review, to be fair, because that type is a decision that the cabinet sub committee on housing as well would have to make and that's a committee made up of the Taoiseach, the Tanaiste, myself and finance.

"I am genuinely reviewing, it's not an immediate threat because none have been built.

"I think actually the market, people themselves will decide that they're not going to see it as a solution for housing.

"I don't want to ban something if it has an effect that it's going to affect student accommodation."

The Minister says he does not regret saying that the eviction ban should run until October before he was appointed to the role. However he has not confirmed he will extend the measure, as he is awaiting advice from the Department of Health and the Department of Public Expenditure.

"What I would like to do that hasn't changed, but I have to be mindful of the Act and the public health advice, which I haven't got yet," he added.

He added that there are indications are from the sector, that Ireland will see under 14,000 house completions in both the public and private sector this year.

The government is projecting that they will "probably" hit about 80% of the target this year on public housing delivery, which is 7,736 houses According to charity Focus Ireland, there were almost 9,000 people homeless in Ireland in May.   

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