Minister O’Brien announces new planning permission conditions & an owner occupier guarantee

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD has today announced new planning measures to mitigate against the bulk purchase of houses and duplexes and plans to earmark homes in certain developments for owner occupiers.

  • New planning guidelines will be issued shortly by way of a Departmental circular under Section 28 of the Planning & Development Act 2000 to require Local Authorities and An Bord Pleanala to prohibit bulk buying of houses and duplexes.
  • Separately the “owner occupier guarantee” which will be introduced via legislative amendment, will involve enabling Local Authorities to designate a specified number of houses and duplexes with a pre-determined range of at least 0-50% in a development for owner occupiers similar to requirements under Part V of the Planning & Development Act 2000. Current Part V requirements will be additional to any owner occupier designation.

Commenting Minister O’Brien said, “The Minister for Finance and I have worked closely to provide genuine solutions to the issue of institutional investors crowding buyers out of the market. We have been very clear that institutional investment has a role to play in supporting new supply, particularly in delivering high density apartments that would otherwise not be built. However they should not be allowed to snap up already completed developments where there is a clear demand and no viability issues.

“I fully acknowledge the sheer frustration which people have expressed recently. The measures which we have agreed will have immediate and longer term impacts and will help to level the playing field for first-time buyers and owner occupiers.

“From a planning perspective we will issue a Departmental circular to Local Authorities to prohibit bulk buying of houses and duplexes. We will also introduce legislative amendments to enable Local Authorities, based on their own Housing Needs and Demand Assessment, to designate a specified number of houses and duplexes in a development for owner occupiers.

“Apartments, due to the fundamental viability issues, will be exempt from these provisions. This is in recognition of the fact that we need continued investment from international capital to ensure supply in core urban and high density areas. Further measures we are introducing by way of the Affordable Housing Bill 2021, such as the direct build of units by Local Authorities, the shared equity scheme, and a revamped Serviced Sites Fund will help those first time buyers wishing to purchase an apartment to do so. The Part V provisions of 10% affordable and 10% social remains will be in place in apartment developments.

“The Affordable Housing Bill, which I introduced to the Oireachtas just last night together with the Land Development Agency Bill 2021, will work together to give people the opportunity of ownership.  These two landmark pieces of legislation are backed up by the largest housing budget in the history of the State and our most ambitious social housing targets on record. Combined, this represents a major step change in our housing policy that mobilises both the public and private sector.

“Tackling the crisis is our top priority and it will take a whole of Government approach. Our work with Minister Donohoe and his Department has demonstrated our commitment to putting home ownership back in reach for people,” he concluded.