Sunday 25 February 2018

New laws to bypass councils on building projects

Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Housing Minister Simon Coveney. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Niall O'Connor and Paul Melia

Councils are to be by-passed when it comes to building projects of 100 units or more under plans set to be approved by Cabinet.

Approval for such projects will instead go directly to An Bord Pleanála under legislation being spearheaded by Housing Minister Simon Coveney.

The proposals, contained in the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, will also apply to new student accommodation of 150 beds or more.

Government sources say the bill will also contain new timelines for local authorities for dealing with planning applications for social housing, otherwise known as Part Eights.

Measures aimed at protecting tenants through new powers for the Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) will also be detailed.

The bill will also give effect to the so-called 'Tyrrelstown Amendment'.

This is a reference to the dozens of families in Cruise Park in Tyrrelstown who were served with notice to leave their homes after they were bought up by a so-called 'vulture fund'.

The legislation will prevent a large number of residents in a single development being evicted simultaneously.

It is proposed that where a landlord wants to sell 20 or more units on one site, the sale would be subject to the existing tenants remaining in situ.

Fianna Fáil's Housing spokesperson Barry Cowen accused the Government of doing "too much showboating" on the issue. "We've been hearing about these announcements for a while. There needs to be less showboating, less talking and more action," he said.

Irish Independent

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