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Co-living is not a viable solution to the current housing crisis

24 June 2019

‘Co-living is a distraction in the current housing crisis’, says Threshold CEO, John-Mark McCafferty, in the context of current planning applications for new co-living developments in urban areas.

“Given the very limited living space available in these proposed units, the rent levels being proposed are very high. As a housing charity that advocates on behalf of those in the private rented sector, we are concerned about the rights of those residing in these co-living spaces. It is unclear if they will be tenants with full rights to the Residential Tenancies Act, or indeed if they are licensees. If they are licensees, they will have far less in the way of rights and protection,” warned Mr McCafferty.

 “Threshold has long called for the delivery of affordable rental housing. We are disappointed at the abject lack of such supply, while developers rush to seek permission for lucrative co-living arrangements and the wider planning and construction sectors expend time and resources facilitating such high rent accommodation.

“There is very real and urgent a need to address the housing needs of single people particularly those in receipt of HAP. Co-Living is completely out of the reach of most single people. Policy makers should take this into account and offer a better long term accommodation alternative to single people than small one bed and studio accommodation with no possibility to have guests or visitors. In addition, the scale of such developments is much larger than what potential occupants of co-living are looking for, according to an international survey on the issue.

“What we do today will shape society in the future and we cannot afford a race to the bottom in quality of standards. Rental affordability, sustainability and the quality of rental homes must be at the heart of all policy considerations.”