Fianna Fáil members vote to end smaller sizes for build-to-rent apartments

Darragh O'Brien

Gabija Gataveckaite

Fianna Fáil is set to push for the end for smaller sizes for build-to-rent apartments.

The party’s ard fheis this afternoon passed a motion calling for the end of lesser standards for build-to-rent developments than in units for purchase by owner-occupiers, and to return them to “one standard”.

Proposed rental apartment developments have often been at the centre of controversy as some see high rents charged for small spaces which cannot be bought by first-time buyers struggling to get their foot on the property ladder.

Build-to-rent apartments also do not have to comply with minimum size standards in homes for sale.

The motion that was carried read: “That this Ard Fheis calls for the ending of the ‘Build to Rent’ standard and a return to one standard for all apartments.”

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien told the ard fheis that he would end the two-tier system of standards.

The push comes amid increasing pressure on the Government to tackle the housing crisis and an increasing shortage of rental properties as landlords continue to exit the market.

It comes as the housing minister said self-build homes will be included in the Government’s shared equity scheme.

The First Home scheme, which launched earlier this year, provides support from the Government and the participating mortgage lenders.

An equity stake of up to 30pc will be on offer for eligible purchasers to bridge the gap between their deposit and mortgage (combined) and the price of the home.

Those who received the Help-to-Buy scheme see the stake restricted to 20pc.

At the moment, buyers of new build homes are eligible, but not self-builds.

This is now set to be changed.

Darragh O’Brien will announce the change after receiving a stamp of approval from Taoiseach Micheál Martin on Friday night, who said he would be keeping the Fingal TD as housing minister after a Cabinet reshuffle in December.

The scheme has been hailed as a “game changer” by the housing minister, despite Central Bank and ESRI concerns that it would push up house prices.

The scheme has cost the taxpayer €400m and is expected to cover the purchase of 8,000 new homes over the next four years.

AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanent TSB are on board for the scheme, with other lenders expected to sign up.

The First Homes scheme in the Government’s Housing For All strategy has no income limits for those who apply for it.

However, there are limits on the value of properties that will qualify for the scheme in each local authority area. The limits are based on the median value for a new home in the area.

Mr O’Brien said previously he and his officials had been working on the scheme for two years, getting clearance for it from the European Union, the European Central Bank and the Central Bank here.

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