At the beginning of February 2013, new regulations came into effect that forced landlords to provide a number of amenities not previously available in the traditional Dublin bedsit. Traditionally, bedsits would have consisted of a private room with somewhere for the occupant to sleep and possibly with some basic cooking facilities and a shared bathroom. This style of bedsits is now illegal and landlords not providing the newly mandatory facilities are liable to be fined €5,000.
The new regulations now compel landlords to provide individual sanitary facilities, food preparation facilities and independently controlled heating to each bedsit unit. Although providing improved standards for those renting the bedsits is essential, concerns have been raised by landlords, tenants, and homeless representatives about how costly renovating the bedsits will be and the repercussions for all involved.
Many of the bedsits that would require major renovations would be needed in older, pre 1963, Edwardian and Victorian building’s divided into bedsits. In a 2008 report, the Center for Housing Research found that the cost of upgrading an eight bedroom, pre-1963 property into a six-bedroom unit with individual bathrooms and heating would be in the region of €120,000. This is likely to push landlords to sell their properties rather than invest in an upgrade. Those that do invest in upgrades will likely increase their rents in order to recoup the costs.
The concern amongst homeless charities lies in the fact that those occupying these bedsits are often some of the most vulnerable in society and removal of the inexpensive bedsit from the market will leave these people with nowhere else to live.
- The average weekly rent for a bedsit in Dublin was €110; this is €109 below the average weekly rent of a professional worker and €27 below the average weekly rent of an unskilled worker.
- One third of those living in bedsits are unemployed and a further 10% are unable to work due to disability.
Since the new regulations came into effect, it is impossible to deny their impact on the housing market. The increase in the number of houses coming on the market that are divided into a number of individual units is undeniable and for-sale signs have popped up outside many pre -1963 bedsit buildings over the past year and a half. Previously marketed as bedsits to rent these buildings will often require a huge amount of work to convert them into single units or larger multi-unit buildings meeting the new standards.
Have any new housing regulations impacted housing in your city?
Credits: Images by Rebecca Mullen. Data linked to sources.