Student accommodation in Cork could be blocked from allowing short term rentals

The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) is attempting to block a student accommodation complex in Cork from renting out rooms on a short term basis.

The IHF has complained that Amnis House was advertising year-round, short-term lets on Booking.com last April.

It has asked An Bord Pleanála to rule on whether the use of the accommodation for year-round, short-term letting requires planning permission as it represents a material change in the use of the building.

The IHF said that the grant of planning permission for the development of Amnis House imposed a condition that any change of use of the accommodation, including for other types of residential accommodation needed approval by Cork City Council or An Bord Pleanála.

As a result, the year round short term letting of the accommodation would be characterised as unauthorised development.

However, Amnis House called for the case to be dismissed on the basis the IHF had provided no evidence that Amnis House was being used for year-round short-term letting.

It also noted that student accommodation can be used as tourist accommodation outside academic term times under planning legislation, which is why Amnis House was available to rent on a short-term basis between June and August.

Many other student accommodations rent out rooms during the summer months including the accommodation here on DCU’s Glasnevin campus.

A DCU spokesperson said “The university rents out undergraduate student accommodation during the summer months to facilitate a range of activities including conferences, The DCU Centre for Talented Youth summer programme, DCU Language School and tourist visitors to Dublin.  All of this contributes to the reduced student rental rates charged during term time to DCU students and is in full compliance with planning regulations.”

While Amnis House is still listed on the Booking.com website, bookings are not currently available as the accommodation is sold out for the 2019/2020 academic year.

Amnis House was the focus of much media attention around the same time last year, as students from UCC and Cork IT protested over the cost of rent at the accommodation complex, which ranged from €210 to €225 per week.

This year, rent in the accommodation increased again, and now costs between €228 and €244 per week.

A ruling on whether the year round, short term rental of rooms in the student accommodation complex is in breach of planning regulations is expected by the end of the month.

Aoife O’Brien

Image Credit: Joy Nwagiriga