Student Accommodation

Questions (246)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

246. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the phenomenon of five night leasing affecting students in which a student must leave the property and take away all belongings on Friday to return on Sunday evening in order that the property can be used for rental (details supplied) over the weekend; and if this issue will be addressed in his review of legislation governing short-term rentals. [41386/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) was established as an independent statutory body under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 to operate a national tenancy registration system and to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants. Further information on landlord and tenant obligations is available on the RTB website https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/during-a-tenancy/maintenance-inspections-and-access/inspections-and-access.

The Act provides that a landlord should allow a tenant of a rented dwelling to enjoy peaceful and exclusive occupation. A landlord is only allowed to enter the property with the tenant’s permission or in an emergency.

Under Action 18 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector, my Department established a Working Group, involving representatives of all major public stakeholders with a policy interest in short-term lettings, to develop guidance in relation to planning applications, changes of use relating to short-term lettings and to examine the need for new regulatory arrangements.

The proposals under consideration by the Working Group have been aimed at facilitating short-term letting of accommodation within permanent residences, known as homesharing, while protecting the existing stock of residential property in areas of high demand, safeguarding neighbourhood amenity and consumer protection, and generating revenue to address any negative effects of short-term letting.

Having considered the Group's report as well as the recommendations in the Oireachtas Committee's report on short-term lettings, I am engaging with other relevant Ministers in relation to the appropriate next steps in taking the proposed regulatory regime forward.

Among the options under consideration are the development of a new licensing regime for short-term letting platforms and homeowners who rent out rooms or entire properties to tourists to facilitate a more managed approach to short-term tourist lettings, and protect the existing stock of residential property, in particular, long-term rental accommodation, in areas of high demand. Recognising that the introduction of such a regulatory regime will take time, I am also considering what other measures might, in the interim, support the recommendations and objectives set down in both the Working Group's report and the Oireachtas Committee.

Student Accommodation

Questions (247)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

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.

Local Authority Assets

Questions (248)

Maria Bailey

Question:

248. Deputy Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if it is a reserve power of the county manager to sell sites owned by the council; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41488/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 183 of the Local Government Act 2001 provides that the proposed disposal of any land which is held by a local authority shall be carried out by resolution of the elected members of the local authority.

Local Authority Expenditure

Questions (249)

Maria Bailey

Question:

249. Deputy Maria Bailey asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if it is a reserve power for county councillors to determine the county capital budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [41489/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

Section 135 of the Local Government Act 2001 provides that before the start of each local financial year the chief executive shall prepare and submit to the elected council a report indicating the programme of capital projects proposed by the local authority for the forthcoming and the following two local financial years having regard to the availability of resources. This report may be considered at the local authoritybudget meeting or at such other meeting as the elected council may by resolution decide.

Other relevant provisions of the 2001 Act addressing the role of elected members in the area of capital budgeting include section 137, which provides that the elected council may by resolution require the chief executive to prepare plans and specifications for particular works and an estimate of their cost; section 138, which provides that the chief executive shall inform the elected council before any works (other than maintenance or repair) of the local authority are undertaken or before committing the local authority concerned to any expenditure in connection with the proposed works; section 139 , which provides that, once the elected council is informed in accordance with section 138 of any works, it may by resolution direct that those works shall not proceed; and section 140 , which provides that the elected council may, by resolution and subject to the requirements of the section, direct that any specific act be done by the local authority.