Murphy rows back on claim co-living spaces are like 'trendy boutique hotels'


Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.54 19 Jul 2019


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The Minister for Housing has rowed back on his claim that co-living spaces are like 'trendy boutique hotels'

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Minister Eoghan Murphy accused critics of the Government's co-living proposals of misrepresenting the concept.

A development planned in Dún Laoghaire proposes charging €1,300 a month for a private room, sharing a kitchen with dozens of others.

Other developments are being planned for the capital.

Critics here have warned co-living offers a low standard of living, and also warned that it is often not a cheaper alternative to traditional rental properties.

'Trendy, boutique hotel'

Minister Murphy said they would mainly be aimed at recent graduates entering the workforce for the first time.

"It's something I'd seen abroad in other cities, where you have your own private room, en suite... but you also have shared community spaces: a gym, a movie room, a games room potentially, a kitchen, a living room.

"It's more like a very trendy, kind of boutique hotel type place.

"I can see people coming here to Ireland who can't sign a 12 month lease because they're not going to be here for 12 months maybe... who don't want to share a place with three strangers... and who want to have a bit of privacy, but also a bit of that communal or social aspect to living."

'Bad analogy'

This afternoon, he moved to clarify his position.

"I was asked this morning whether co-living spaces were like prisons and based on what I have seen in other cities they are not," he wrote.

"My analogy in response was not a good one."

He said the idea has prompted outrage in some quarters because people "wrongly assume it is what we propose as a solution to families in crisis."

He said the Government expects to build over 20,000 new homes this year and plans the same for next year.

"Homes are the answer for the vast majority," he wrote. "Co-living is targeted at approximately 1% of renters."

College life

Earlier he said co-living could work for people who've recently lived in university or college dorms.

Minister Murphy suggested that some people have connected the proposal "to certain ideas" which are different to the Government's ideas.

Defending the concept, he argued: "[Maybe people] are used to that kind of arrangement - they're not yet at the point where they just want to live with one or two other people.

"They'll do that for six or twelve months, until they're six or twelve months into their first job, and then go with two or colleagues from work 'let's rent a house'.

"The problem is that perhaps when the co-living was presented by some people, they were trying to present it [as] this is what we were saying we wanted the new rental market to look like - it is not."

The Housing Minister said that "less than 1%" of new places to live this year will be co-living, adding: "It's an option for some, but only a very few people."

Listen to the podcast here:

Murphy rows back on claim co-living spaces are like 'trendy boutique hotels'

00:00:00 / 00:00:00
Main image: File photo of Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy. Picture by: Niall Carson/PA Archive/PA Images

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