Ireland: Planning For Housing And Residential Rental Sector

As its final act before the Christmas recess, the Houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) passed legislation providing new protections for residential tenants, and amending the planning code to facilitate delivery of housing. A new mechanism for rent predictability, in areas where rents are high and rising quickly, is intended to deliver certainty for residential tenants, while allowing sufficient rental growth to ensure that investors are not deterred from entering the residential rental market.

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 was signed into law by the President today, Friday, 23 December 2016. The Act is intended to underpin the Government's housing strategy, one of the key priorities for the Irish Government. While some provisions take effect before Christmas, others will not come into force until the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government makes a commencement order. Changes to the residential tenancies legislation arising from the Strategy for the Rental Sector published last week have been implemented swiftly, to minimise the opportunity for landlords to pre-empt the commencement of these tenant protections.

Protections for Tenants

The impact of rising rents on the housing crisis has been the subject of social and political debate for some time. The Government has now intervened in the private rental market to limit rental increases in areas designated as rental pressure zones to a maximum of 4% per annum for a period of up to three years.

The local authority areas of Dublin and Cork City are designated rental pressure zones by the Act. Other areas may be designated in the future if the average rent for an area is above the national average and rates of increase over a period of time exceed a specified threshold. The limits on rental increases will apply both at the start of the tenancy and to each rent review. However there are exemptions in relation to properties which are new to the rental market and upgraded properties, to encourage supply and upgrading of rental accommodation.

Additional measures to protect tenants and enhance the functioning of the private rented residential sector include:

  • Extending tenants' security of tenure under a Part 4 tenancy from four to six years in respect of new tenancies and abolishing landlords' right during the first six months of a further Part 4 tenancy to terminate that tenancy for no stated ground;
  • Where a landlord proposes to concurrently sell ten or more units within a single multi-unit development, prohibiting the landlord from terminating any of the tenancies to facilitate the sale, save in exceptional circumstances;
  • Enhancing the Residential Tenancies Board's enforcement and dispute resolution powers, including accelerated dispute resolution timeframes.

Fast-Track Planning

The Act introduces a new fast-track planning procedure for "strategic housing developments". Applications will be made directly to An Bórd Pleanála, instead of the usual process of application to the local planning authority in the first instance, with a right of appeal to An Bórd Pleanála.

The new procedure requires pre-planning application consultations to take place, firstly with the local authority and then between An Bórd Pleanála, the developer and the relevant local authority. An Bórd Pleanála will subsequently be required to make a final determination within 16 weeks of receipt of the planning application. The Minister has suggested that this will potentially result in planning decisions issuing within 25 weeks of commencement of the pre-application consultation process, as against the current two-stage planning process which can, in certain circumstances, take up to 18 to 24 months from initial design stage to securing ultimate approval.

The new procedures will apply to:

  • residential developments of 100 dwellings or more;
  • student accommodation projects containing 200 or more bed spaces;
  • development that includes 100 dwellings or more and student accommodation projects containing 200 or more bed spaces; or
  • alterations of existing planning permissions to permit development as outlined above,

on land with appropriate zoning and subject to limitations on the extent of other uses.

To avoid hoarding land following speculative applications for fast-tracked planning permission, the facility to apply for extension of such planning permissions has been restricted. Where permission is granted under the fast-tracked procedure, an extension of planning permission is only available if substantial works have been carried out during the original life of the planning permission.

Where a strategic housing development is proposed within a strategic development zone (SDZ), the developer may elect to avail of either the fast-tracked planning procedure under the Act or the SDZ planning procedure.

The fast-tracked planning process will be in place until the end of 2019, with the possibility of extension by the Minister for a further two years, to coincide with the life of the Government's action plan on housing and homelessness, Rebuilding Ireland.

Extension of Planning Permissions

The Act also contains temporary provisions to facilitate completion of developments of 20 or more houses or apartments in respect of which planning permissions are now running out. There are many examples of such permissions granted prior to the recession, in respect of which a combination of low house prices and lack of funding has stalled construction for several years.

A planning authority shall extend the duration of extant permissions for such residential developments that have already benefitted from one extension of duration, where the authority considers that a further extension is necessary to enable the development to be completed. Such extensions shall be for a maximum of five years, provided that they shall expire no later than 31 December 2021.

Extension of permissions will expedite the completion of such housing developments, by eliminating the need to apply for fresh planning permissions. In general, an application to extend the life of the permission must be made before the expiration of the existing extension period. Where the extension period expired at any time from 19 July 2016 until commencement of the relevant provision, an application must be made within six months of the commencement date.

Other Provisions

Other provisions in the Act include:

  • Streamlining and expediting existing arrangements for approval by local authorities of their own development proposals, including proposals for social housing projects and infrastructure servicing both public and private development;
  • Introduction of screening arrangements for the conducting of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) for certain types of works, including emergency flood relief works. This will enable planning authorities to determine if an EIA is required for specific proposed works within a short time frame; and
  • Providing for lending by the Housing Finance Agency to Institutes of Higher Education to provide low-cost finance to higher education institutes for the purpose of providing student accommodation, and to the Housing Agency for acquisition of properties for social housing nationally.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions