'Either you think it's acceptable for someone to pay €1300 to live in a shoebox or you don't' - Sinn Féin tables bill to ban co-living

'Either you think it's acceptable for someone to pay €1300 to live in a shoebox or you don't' - Sinn Féin tables bill to ban co-living
Sinn Féin Eoin O Broin has called on housing minister Darragh O'Brien to ban co-living. Picture: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

Sinn Féin has proposed a new bill to ban co-living developments across Ireland.

Housing spokesman Eoin O'Broin said that he is aware of more than ten planning applications for co-living in Dublin. These developments sees tenants share kitchen and living facilities while renting one small private bedroom, measuring 12sqm, roughly the size of a disabled parking space.

"(Housing Minister) Darragh O' Brien, when he was in opposition was vehemently opposed to co-living," Mr O'Broin said.

"This time last year last July, he called it 'bonkers'.

"He said; 'If Eoghan Murphy, and Leo Varadkar like it, they should try and living in it'.

"He has the power to remove this immediately. You can just do it with a stroke of a pen and instead, he said he was going to do the so-called responsible thing and do a review.

"The problem with the review is, one of the reasons why co-living is bad isn't just that it forces large numbers of people into small amounts of living space, it also dramatically inflates the price of land."

Mr O Broin pointed to Dublin development 'The Collective' where a co-living developer purchased a piece of land in Fumbally Lane, which previously sold for €4.5m with planning permission for a shop, restaurant, and 37 apartments.

When co-living permission was tabled, the land sold for €10.5m.

"By announcing a review, what Darragh O'Brien is saying is, anybody who was thinking about doing one of these developments, they should go and do it now because that's the only way to guarantee the uplift in the value of the land," Mr O Broin said.

"What he should have done is said nothing about it and, in the first week of being the minister, he should have simply banned what he thought was 'bonkers' when he was an opposition.

"Surely he thinks it's bonkers now that he's the minister."

The minister previously said the review was necessary to ensure that new legislation banning co-living did not interfere with student accommodation, later adding he thought the market would decide it wasn't a solution to housing.

Sinn Féin said the rules governing student-specific accommodation are different from co-living.

"He was the housing spokesperson for two years, so if you haven't worked out a plan on how to do this when he became minister, then I'm not so sure if he's going to be able to do it now," Mr O Broin added.

"The bottom line is this: either you think it's acceptable for somebody to pay €1300 a month to live in a shoebox or you don't.

"The problem is the longer this goes on, the more of those applications that can be put in, and we know from the strategic housing developments that very large numbers of planning applications never get built.

"The reason why is because some of the people who put in the applications never intend to build them. They want to increase the value of the land and then flip it and sell it at a later stage.

"So we're going to get rid of coliving, let's get rid of that."

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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