O’Brien has told officials he is concerned about the volume of coliving developments in the pipeline and the planned locations, as well as their potential to undermine Government housing policies and put upward pressure on land prices, according to a report in the Irish Times.
He made the decision after receiving a review of the guidelines for coliving, issued in 2018 by the previous minister, Fine Gael’s Eoghan Murphy.
In an email to officials, O’Brien says he has decided to amend the 2018 guidelines “to seek to restrict all future commercial coliving development in Ireland”.
The guidelines allowed for bedrooms of 12 square metres, although most bed spaces envisaged in planning applications lodged so far are larger.
O’Brien wrote: “Given the unprecedented nature of these developments I have concerns that the scale of the developments is moving away from the niche quantity of units the concept originally aimed for to a significantly larger role in the housing system.”
He added that the location of proposed developments was “not in keeping with the high-density urban centres originally envisaged”, while “inappropriate locations away from the core city centre have undermined the concept”.
To date there have been 14 coliving applications in Ireland: five approved and two refused. A further seven are under consideration. A total of 1,670 bed spaces have either been approved or are in the planning process.
O’Brien will sign regulations today which will bring in a specific planning policy requirement with a presumption against granting planning permission for coliving or shared development.
The move follows a proposal from Sinn Fein, Ireland's largest opposition party, to introduce a bill banning coliving.