Housing: Rental Regulations re Bunk Bed Occupancy

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Dáil Issues, Housing & Planning

DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy)
by Deputy Clare Daly for WRITTEN ANSWER on 20/06/2017
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to homeowners advertising shared occupancy bunk beds (details supplied); the legal obligations of such activity; the rules or regulations in place to protect the rights of tenants in such accommodation; if his department has intervened in these circumstances; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied) http://www.dublinlive.ie/news/dublin-news/bunk-beds-being-rented-out-12607785

The Strategy for the Rental Sector, published in December 2016, recognises that the quality of rental accommodation is critical to the success and sustainability of the residential rental sector and its attractiveness as a long-term accommodation option for households. 

A key commitment in the Strategy was to review the regulations governing minimum standards in rented accommodation, to bring them into line with modern requirements.  That review has now been completed and new Regulations, the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2017, have been made and will come into operation on 1 July 2017.  These Regulations will replace the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) Regulations 2008 and the Housing (Standards for Rented Houses) (Amendment) Regulations 2009.  All landlords have a legal obligation to ensure that their rented properties comply with the Regulations.  Responsibility for enforcement of the Regulations rests with the relevant local authority.

In addition to the updated Regulations, procedures for a more efficient, standardised and transparent inspections and enforcement approach across all local authority areas will be introduced.  Specific ring-fenced funding for inspections will be provided from 2018 onwards, with the aim of achieving a 25% annual inspection coverage of rental properties by 2021.

It is important to note that overcrowding and unfit houses are legislated for under Part IV of the Housing Act 1966.  The Act defines overcrowding in terms of the numbers of persons sharing rooms and room size. Overcrowding may give rise to concerns in respect of fire safety, and may lead to enforcement action by fire authorities.  Situations of overcrowding should be reported to the relevant local authority.

Partial use of houses as overnight guest accommodation, essentially for B+B purposes, is provided for as an exempted development under Regulation 10(4) of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as long as not more than 4 bedrooms in a house are used and not more than 4 persons are accommodated in a bedroom.

Using a residential property as hostel accommodation is not exempted development and constitutes a change of use which would require planning permission.

Enforcement is a matter for the relevant local authority in its role as housing authority under the Housing Acts or as planning authority under the Planning and Development Acts, as the case may be.