Return of bedsits ‘could send accommodation back to before 1960s’

Return of bedsits ‘could send accommodation back to before 1960s’
  1. Return of bedsits ‘could send accommodation back to before 1960s’
    Eamon Ryan fears bringing back bedsits will see a ‘lowering of standards’ for occ…

Bringing back bedsits could mean taking back accommodation to the way they were “before the sixties”, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said.

For four years bedsits were banned in the State, but Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy is soon to announce that they are returning as a means of tackling the shortage of accommodation in the rental sector.

It is part of a package he will announce next week which will also provide stronger protection for tenants, including a ban on two-month deposits, as well as prohibiting non-returnable booking deposits handed over before properties are even let in the hope of securing a lease on the accommodation.

It became illegal in 2013 for landlords to rent out bedsit-type accommodation over concerns that much of it was dilapidated, run-down and inadequate for modern habitation.

Mr Ryan said he has a “real fear” that the return of bedsits will see a “lowering of standards” when it comes to issues like heating, sanitation and food preparation.


“We have a huge housing crisis but we don’t believe that the way to address that is to just listen to the landlords . . . [and lower] standards for properties to be built,” he said.

  • Have you ever lived in a bedsit? Tell us your story
  • Complex housing crisis needs variety of imaginative solutions
  • Minister in talks to ‘scale up’ plans to tackle homelessness

However, well-placed Government sources said on Tuesday night that the relaxation of the ban on bedsits would not mean a return to the situation that pertained before 2013, where the accommodation in many bedsits was substandard.

The sources stressed that strict regulations in relation to sanitary facilities, heating and minimum space would apply. It is expected single-room bedsits will be required to have adequate access to clean sanitary facilities, proper heating appliances, and proper food preparation areas.

However, the measure is expected to allow landlords increase the number of units for rent in properties. The Government hopes it will help ease pressure in the sector, where shortages have had a knock-on effect on rents which have risen over 12 per cent, year-on-year, between June 2016 and June 2017.

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