The Minister for Housing has come in for criticism for his public backing of ‘co-living’ developments as a solution to the housing crisis.
Housing charity Threshold described the developments as “21st-century bedsits with a glossy makeover” and said that it should not be viewed as a viable solution to the current housing shortage.
Minister Eoghan Murphy said that co-living is part of the solution to the housing crisis.
In 2018, the minister signed off on a reduction in the guidelines for minimum apartment size to allow for co-living developments. Such buildings typically include private bedrooms with en-suite bathroom facilities but shared kitchen and living spaces.
One proposed development in Dun Laoghaire includes 208 studio dwellings in a 6,501 sq m building. On one floor, 42 people would share one kitchen.
Mr Murphy told Pat Kenny on Newstalk that co-living is “another choice for people” that would allow them to “pay a little less” for accommodation.
“The challenge we face at the moment, as supply is increasing, is becoming more of a question of not increasing supply, which is happening now quite dramatically, but what we’re building and where,” he said.
“It becomes more of a planning issue. So as we increase supply, we have to make sure we’re building the right types of homes.
“So what we’re doing with co-living is bringing around another option, another choice for people, if they choose to go for it. In the guidelines that we have published, it’s about bringing forward apartments with some co-living space as well.”
A spokesperson for Threshold said co-living has the potential for problems.
“Encouraging a proliferation of high rise ‘shoe-boxes’ each smaller than a disabled parking bay with access to shared facilities and the consequent reduction in standards does not seem like a desirable vision for our future,” the charity said in a statement.
“Simply put, these new developments are the 21st century bedsits with a glossy makeover. Relying solely on build-to-rent developments or co-living complexes will not achieve a social mix or affordable rental accommodation.
“Renting is the reality, and will continue to be the reality, for an increasing number of people long into the future. The state’s continued outsourcing and overreliance on the private sector to produce affordable housing is negligent.”
Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys also criticised co-living developments saying they are about “profit maximisation and the financialisation of housing”.