One of the most active sectors in the Irish economy both publically and privately continues to be real estate.
Many current challenges facing the Irish real estate sector continued, such as a housing supply shortage and issues in the rental sector. Attempts were made in 2016 to address these issues with the introduction of new legislation and governmental action plans.
Government's action plan on housing and homelessness - a prime opportunity for real estate development
2016 saw the publication of the Government's "Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness" (the "Action Plan"), creating five targets to achieve the aim of building 175,000 new housing units by 2021. This was a direct response to the residential housing crisis in Ireland. The Action Plan's main pillars are to:
address homelessness; accelerate the social housing development process; build more private homes; improve the rental sector; and make better use of existing housing stock. In order to achieve these aims the Government envisages a combination of public sector house builds, better use of existing resources, funding for relevant infrastructures and a more effective regulatory environment, with particular emphasis on large-scale developments infrastructure and planning reform. The Action Plan is ambitious and welcomed. Implementation of the Action Plan will involve building more homes by providing investment for social housing builds and opening up land supply and low-cost state lands.
Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016This Act was introduced to facilitate the implementation of certain aspects of the Action Plan and the Government's Rental Strategy which was also published in 2016. The Act's aim is to deal primarily with the current housing supply shortage and to tackle issues in the rental sector. Key provisions of the Act include:
the introduction of a fast-track planning process for developments consisting of 100 or more houses and for student accommodation of 200 or more bed spaces; the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones ("RPZs") and rent caps; the extension of Part 4 tenancies from four years to six years; the restriction on landlords terminating tenancies of 10 or more units within the same development within a specified six-month period where they intend to sell the properties; and the repeal...