1491. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the protections he will introduce for students reliant on affordable accommodation making specific reference to a case (details supplied). (Question 15694/18 asked on 17 Apr 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Damien English): I propose to take Questions Nos. 1491, 1556 and 1579 together.

Rent Pressure Zones have their legal basis under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, as amended.  This legislation regulates the landlord-tenant relationship in the private rented residential sector.  Pursuant to section 3(1), this Act applies to every dwelling that is the subject of a tenancy. The provisions of the Act, including those provisions providing for the rent pressure zone measure, does not apply where the dwelling is occupied by a person under an arrangement which is not a tenancy.  

Licensing arrangements such as those that apply to some types of student accommodation are not covered by the legislative protections of the Residential Tenancies Act 2004, because they are not deemed to be tenancies for the purposes of the Act.  Consequently, the restrictions on rental increases in Rent Pressure Zones, provided for in the Residential Tenancies Act, do not therefore apply to accommodation types that are not normally subject to tenancies.

However, if there is any doubt as to the type of arrangement in place, whether it is a tenancy or licence, the matter should be referred to the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB) for a determination. 

I understand that the Department of Education and Skills (DES) are to examine the case for inclusion of purpose-built student accommodation within the Rent Pressure Zone legislation, including through the forum of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on Student Accommodation which is convened by DES.