News & Media

Government has abandoned City Living - Build to Rent must contain owner-occupier provisions

18 May 2021

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Seanad Leader and spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage

Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has hit out at the Government response to so-called cuckoo funds buying up whole developments saying that it is anti-city living. 

Senator Moynihan said:

"The response from Government to address the housing crisis shows that they do not care about good planning in cities. We need to take a practical approach in solving the housing crisis and realise that not everyone wants a home in a suburban estate. We need density and good apartments provided in our urban centres also. The response today will just push the investor funding towards providing Build To Rent where they can apply lower apartment standards and are based on continuing to charge Generation Rent high rents.

"In my own area, Hines have permission for 1400 units, none of which will be available to buy, and that won’t be impacted by today’s decision. People who want to live in a vibrant urban community will just be pushed out as estimated rents for these will be €1,350 for a studio and €2,800 a month for a three-bed.

"We need to ensure that there are is a mix in terms of housing supply, including apartments for city living.

“The Government’s current Build to Rent policy is depriving young and old from accessing decent apartments to make their homes in. People are experiencing huge rents which are entirely unaffordable and the response of the Government has been to allow Build to Rent to dominate our permissions system.

“To address this, Government must redraft the Build to Rent guidelines. As part of this, we are calling on the Minister to ensure that 50% is ringfenced specifically for owner occupiers to be able to buy and that standards are harmonised with our apartment standards. If Government fails to implement this approach, investors will migrate to the Build to Rent sector, further locking people out of homes.

“In Dublin city, one impact on the ground has been that as many as 70%, and perhaps more, of homes granted planning permission between 2018 and 2020 were to be Built for Rent, and not for sale, suggest CSO figures read alongside council figures. From the start of 2018 to the end of 2020, planning authorities granted permission for around 20,500 homes in the Dublin City Council area. Dublin City Council figures also suggest that those planning permissions include roughly 10,900 build-to-rent apartments.

“The boom in Build To Rent developments are also ignoring the need of single people who want to buy in inner city neighbourhoods. We need to take a holistic approach to housing, one that reflects the makeup of our entire society. Housing policy cannot just be focused on families in the suburbs.”