In respect of private residential developments, the issue of restricting property ownership is generally not a matter for the planning authority, as their prime concern is the appropriate design layout and impact on the spatial development of an area.
In relation to developments that specifically apply for permission as long term build to rent developments under the 2018 Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New apartments- guidelines for Local Authorities, it is a requirement that such apartment developments are owned and operated by a single entity and that individual units are not sold or rented separately for a minimum of 15 years. This requirement relates to the need for a clear management structure and shared communal facilities for this particular form of development.
It is important to recognise the positive effects that institutional investment can have in terms of the supply of housing, not least given the scale of housing development envisaged under the National Planning Framework over the period to 2040, particularly apartment developments in the main urban centres.
I am committed to improving security of tenure of tenants and I have brought forward additional measures in this regard for Committee Stage of the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2018. These include providing new powers to the RTB to investigate and sanction landlords who engage in improper conduct, including non-compliance with the rent increase restrictions in Rental Pressure Zones, which are the areas where institutional investment tends to be concentrated.
The legislation will allow the RTB to initiate an investigation without the need for a complaint to be made. It will also require the annual registration of tenancies with the RTB and significantly extend the notice periods for tenancy terminations by landlords.
The annual registration of tenancies will provide improved data on the profile of landlords in the market, including institutional landlords, and will be of benefit to my Department in keeping the market under review, ensuring that we facilitate the positive impacts of institutional investment, while addressing any broader issues that may arise.
In relation to tenure mix, National Policy Objective 37 of the National Planning Framework requires each local authority to carry out a Housing Need Demand Assessment (HNDA) in order to correlate and accurately align overall future housing requirements, as an evolution of their existing Housing Strategy requirements under Part V of the 2000 Act. This will assist local authorities in ensuring long-term strategic housing needs are met across all types, tenures and locations across their functional areas, both urban and rural. My Department intends to provide further guidance to local authorities later this year, to support their HNDA work as part of the review of their Development Plans.