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 main provisions of the Act are:
1. 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;
2. the potential for a second extension of already extended planning permissions for developments comprising 20 or more houses;
3. the introduction of Rent Pressure Zones (“RPZs”) and rent caps;
4. the extension of Part 4 tenancies from four years to six years;
5. 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
6. the repeal of the right of landlords to terminate a ‘further’ Part 4 tenancy within the first six months on no stated grounds.
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.
While developers welcome the Government’s steps to fast track the planning system, it will take cooperation by a number of parties, most notably the local authorities and An Bord Pleanála, to ensure that efficient procedures are implemented to complement the provisions in the Act.