Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Questions (247)

Róisín Shortall


247. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the requirements in relation to the maximum number of bed spaces per square metre in student accommodation. [41387/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 50 of the Finance Act 1999 provided for a scheme of tax relief for rented residential accommodation for third level students - commonly referred to as section 23 relief. The associated legislation for the tax scheme provided that guidelines may be issued by the Minister for Education and Science, in consultation with the Minister for the Environment and Local Government, with the consent of the Minister for Finance.

These guidelines were subsequently produced as the ‘Guidelines on Residential Developments for 3rd Level Students: Section 50 Finance Act 1999 - Relief for Rented Residential Accommodation for Third Level Students ’ in 1999.

This document includes details on qualifying geographical locations for developments, leases, etc. In addition, the guidance provides certain minimum and maximum standards in relation to floor areas involved:

6. Total Floor Areas of Qualifying Premises

Accommodation under the scheme shall be provided by groupings of study bedrooms in "house" units.

Each unit shall consist of a minimum of 3 bed spaces and an overall minimum gross floor area of 55 sq. metres, up to a maximum of 8 bed spaces and a maximum of 160 sq. metres. Study bedrooms shall be arranged in units sharing a common entrance hall and kitchen/living room. Rooms shall have reasonable shapes and proportions and have adequate space for normal living purposes. Accurate adult sized furniture shall be indicated on layout plans. Units shall in turn share common entrances, access stairs and corridors, and ancillary facilities.

6.1 Kitchen/Living room

The provision of shared kitchen/dining/living room space shall be based on a minimum of 4 sq. m per bedspace in the unit. This shall be in addition to any shared circulation. At a minimum, basic kitchen units, with sink, cooker and fridge shall be installed.

6.2 Bedrooms

These will be used as study bedrooms requiring desk space, and storage. Therefore, one of the following minimum areas shall apply depending on provision of bathroom facilities:-

- Single study bedroom 8 sq. metres

- Single study bedroom with ensuite shower, toilet and basin 12 sq. metres

- Twin study bedroom 15 sq. metres

- Twin study bedroom with ensuite shower, toilet and basin 18 sq. metres

- Single Disabled study bedroom, with ensuite disabled shower, toilet and basin 15 sq. metres

This tax relief expired in 2008 and the student development projects constructed under the relief were eligible to receive this relief for a period of ten years following the date the property is first let to students.

Certain individual local authorities provide development policies and standards for the development of student accommodation in their statutory city or county development plans (e.g. Cork City Council, Kildare County Council). A number of local authorities feature standards/requirements for purpose built student accommodation similar to those included in the above DES 1999 document, such as in section 16.10.7 - ‘Guidelines for Student Accommodation ’ in the Dublin City Development Plan 2016-22 and Table 16.6a of the Cork City Development Plan 2015-21. These standards are used in the assessment of proposed development projects by the planning authority in their statutory development management process for planning applications.