26 July, 2019 - National Student Accommodation Strategy

6,691 PBSA Bed Spaces Completed by End Q2, 2019

Continued progress towards Student Accommodation goals

The Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and the Minister of State with special responsibility for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English T.D. today, as part of Project Ireland 2040, released the end Q2 2019 progress report on the National Student Accommodation Strategy.

The National Student Accommodation Strategy (NSAS) complements the initiatives being taken by the Minister for Housing to increase housing supply under Rebuilding Ireland

Eight key targets and 27 actions are outlined which are designed to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) and an increase in take-up of digs accommodation. The target as set out in the NSAS is the provision of 7,000 bed spaces by end 2019 and a total of 21,000 additional PBSA beds by 2024.

As of the end Q2 2019:

  • 6,691 PBSA bed spaces had been completed since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland
  • 5,986 further bed spaces were under construction
  • 8,577 additional bed spaces had planning permission granted
  • 203 were at the planning permission application stage

These projects combine to a total of 21,457 PBSA bed spaces, demonstrating strong growth in the sector and enhancing the mix of accommodation available to students during a time of accommodation shortage in the general rental sector.

The Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. said: I welcome the continued increase in availability of student accommodation. The National Student Accommodation strategy was designed to increase supply and so assist in moderating rental costs for students. As the figures show the strategy is working and we are on track to exceed the target set at the outset.

“From the 15th August, the provisions for student accommodation contained within the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 will apply. This will mean that students, residing in student specific accommodation will have the same level of rent predictability available to the general market, while allowing for the measures necessary for the ongoing operation and development of student specific accommodation.”

The Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development, Damien English T.D. said: “The numbers confirm our NSAS is working and we need to continue this progress to build up supply.

“The Government’s Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 was signed into law by the President on 24 May 2019. The Act contains provisions to apply the Residential Tenancies Acts to student-specific accommodation let under a tenancy or a licence to a student by a private provider or a public educational institution.

“Importantly, the rent increase restriction under the Rent Pressure Zones now applies in this sector and there is now recourse for students to the dispute resolution services of the RTB.   Students in both private and public residential accommodation are deserving of equal protection.

“The National Student Accommodation Strategy is strongly supported by the sustained delivery of new student accommodation nationally present in the Q2, 2019 figures and this will contribute to increased housing provision in the wider rental market.” 

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

The National Student Accommodation Strategy (NSAS) is a key action in the Government’s Rebuilding Ireland:  Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness.  Launched in July 2017, it was developed by the Department of Education and Skills together with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, as well as key stakeholders to introduce measures to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). 

The NSAS is designed to support the delivery of an increased level of supply of PBSA by reducing planning barriers for public and private sector developers of student accommodation and seeking to address financing barriers for our HEIs. The NSAS also complements the various initiatives being taken by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to increase housing supply.

The recently enacted Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 contains provisions designed to ensure that students residing in student-specific accommodation will be able to avail of the same rent predictability measures as other tenants, whether residing under a lease or licence.

Rent Pressure Zones, which regulate rental increases to a maximum of 4% p.a., have a legal basis under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 (as amended). The Act applies to tenancies, subject to a limited number of exceptions but it does not apply where a dwelling is occupied by a person under an arrangement which is not a tenancy. A licensing arrangement is typically applied in many types of student accommodation due to the short-term nature of residency.

The amendments to the legislation include the incorporation of student licence arrangements for student specific accommodation into Rent Pressure Zones and the application of dispute resolution procedures under the 2004 Act to purpose built student accommodation occupied under licence agreement.

The National Student Accommodation Strategy is available at: http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/National-Student-Accommodation-Policy.pdf

A copy of the Progress Report is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/national-student-accommodation-strategy-progress-report-q2-2019.pdf

Further information on the changes to rental legislation in relation to students, living under license in student specific accommodation may be found at:

https://onestopshop.rtb.ie/new-changes-to-rental-legislation/student-specific-accommodation/