Government calls for stricter rules on the use of private student accommodation – The University Times

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The Housing Ministry has called for stricter rules on renting purpose-built student accommodation to non-students.

A circular addressed to directors general of local authorities last week said that permission to change the destination of student accommodation buildings should only be granted if “there is no longer a need for such use in the area. area in question “.

The burden of proving this should lie with the claimant, the circular said.

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In the circular, Chief Planning Advisor Paul Hogan said there was a “critical need for specially designed student housing to meet the needs of the higher education sector, now that restrictions related to COVID are becoming more flexible and that there is a general return to personal learning in our higher education establishments ”.

Hogan continued, “In considering planning requests for the change of use of existing student accommodation for a temporary period, planning authorities and An Bord Pleanála must be satisfied that there are compelling reasons unrelated to COVID. to grant permission for such a proposed change of use. , while the demand for student accommodation remains high.

“The removal of student accommodation from availability for students goes against the National Strategy for Student Accommodation. “

“Consequently,” he added, “it is incumbent on any applicant for a change in the use of existing student accommodation built for this purpose to demonstrate that such use is no longer necessary in the area in question. . Otherwise, student accommodation should be kept, where applicable ”.

In a press release, Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien said he and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris “have been in touch on the issue of student housing and the challenges facing students.”

“We have safeguards in place to protect students in rented accommodation,” he said. “The circular published by my department on Friday leaves no doubt to local authorities that student accommodation built for this purpose must be kept for this purpose, if necessary.”
Dublin City Council recently authorized up to 1,055 student beds for short-term rental to non-students.

Last week the Applicant Dublin reported that providers of specially constructed student housing had requested to rent their beds to non-students because they anticipated a lack of demand this academic year due to the pandemic.

In a press release today, Labor Housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said: “The circular released by departments today is full of exit clauses for government developer friends.”

“If the government were serious about reducing the housing crisis,” Moynihan said, “it would pass the Work Planning and Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 which would prevent developers from using loopholes in the housing legislation. planning to convert purpose-built student accommodation into tourist apartments. ”.

“What was released today will not stop the developers.”

Global Student Accommodation has obtained permission to rent short term in at least six resorts.

Heyday Student Accommodation at Carman’s Hall in the Liberties has also been granted permission to use 68 of its beds for short-term rentals until the end of May 2022.

Some 571 private student apartments owned by Uninest were converted into tourist accommodation for the academic year.


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