Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (322)

Carol Nolan

Ceist:

322. Deputy Carol Nolan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to increase the level of student accommodation in cities and towns to address the chronic shortage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32159/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) is an important component of the range of accommodation options available to students.  These include also digs accommodation and accommodation in the wider rental sector. Rebuilding Ireland, the Government’s action plan for housing and homelessness, provides a long term vision for meeting Ireland’s accommodation needs and enhancing supply in housing and the general rental sector.

The key to ensuring that students can access accommodation at a reasonable cost is to increase supply. In addition to Rebuilding Ireland actions targeted at the general rental sector, a target of 7,000 additional PBSA spaces was set for end 2019.  The National Student Accommodation Strategy (NSAS) was launched in July 2017 by Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and Minster of State for Housing and Urban Development Damien English T.D. to support the delivery of this target.

To date, actions under Rebuilding Ireland and the NSAS have delivered fast-track planning for strategic housing developments, including student accommodation projects containing 200 or more bed spaces, under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016.  The Act also provides for Higher Education Institutes to borrow money from the Housing Finance Agency for the purposes of financing student accommodation.

From the 15th August 2019, PBSA let to registered students under license agreements during term time will be required to register with the Residential Tenancies Board, and will fall under Rent Pressure Zone limits on rent increases for the first time. Students will also be able to access the RTB dispute resolution process.

6,691 additional PBSA bed spaces have been delivered since July 2016 with an additional 5,986 on-site as at the end of June 2019.  A further 29 developments representing 8,577 bed spaces have had planning permission granted demonstrating significant ongoing activity across the sector.