Real Estate Update: Planning And Development (Housing) And Residential Tenancies Act 2016 Introduced

Author:Mr Kevin Hoy, Rachel Carney and Jamie Fitzmaurice
Profession:Mason Hayes & Curran

The Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the “Act”) has been introduced to deal primarily with the current housing supply shortage and to tackle issues in the rental sector. We examine the key provisions of the Act. 

The 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 potential for a second extension of already extended planning permissions for developments comprising 20 or more houses; 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 of the right of landlords to terminate a 'further' Part 4 tenancy within the first six months on no stated grounds. Strategic housing developments

The Act introduces a fast-track planning process for large strategic housing developments. A 'strategic housing development' includes the development of 100 or more houses and the development of student accommodation units containing 200 or more bed spaces. An application for the alteration of an existing planning permission where the alteration relates to these types of developments would also qualify for the fast-track planning process. Once the relevant provisions of the Act have commenced, applications for these developments are to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála. For developments located in strategic development zones, applicants may instead choose to make the application to the planning authority.

Rental sector

RPZs and rent cap

Dublin and Cork City have been designated RPZs for a period of three years from 24 December 2016. Additional locations can be recommended as RPZs to the Minister for approval.  All rental increases will be limited in RPZs by reference to a formula set out in the Act.

Whilst the rent cap is described in the Minister's Rental Strategy as a 4% cap, the exact percentage by which rent can be increased will depend on:

the timing of the rent review; and the time period between the commencement date of the existing rent or, where it is a new tenancy, the rent that was last set under a tenancy for the property and when the new rent will come into effect. The cap on rental increases...

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