The humble bedsit – Ireland’s new outlaw!

The humble bedsit – Ireland’s new outlaw!

In today’s Friday Feedback, our guest blogger John Leahy from highlights the impending demise of the bedsit.

For generations of people the first step on the rental ladder was the traditional bedsit. Often generalised as being small and grotty the humble bedsit was home to many students and other renters alike. Similar to any other type of rental property there are wide variations in the quality of bedsits. During the boom years some of the better quality units were referred to as studio apartments.

Whatever you choose to call them their days are numbered.  February 1st will see the end of an era in the Irish property market as the humble bedsit becomes an outlaw… Yes that’s right. From the 1st February this iconic symbol of Irish property will be illegal.

New standards for rental accommodation which come into effect on 1st February will mean that all rental accommodation must have its own sanitary facilities (e.g. toilet and shower), food preparation facilities and independently controlled heating.

These facilities were generally provided on a communal basis in many of the properties that were divided into bedsits. Upgrading properties to meet the new requirements will not be financially viable for many bedsit owners. They will have no choice but to withdraw their properties from the rental market leaving tenants to find alternative and probably more expensive accommodation elsewhere.

So what do you think of the new regulations?

Is the demise of the bedsit a good thing or does it just remove low cost accommodation from the market?

Have your say in the comments below…

There are 20 comments for this article
  1. jane higgins at 2:27 pm

    when i was at college for two years i lived in the most beautiful old house with a Victorian shared kitchen and the biggest bath in christendon in the shared bathroom; the rent was minimum and the other residents were supply teachers in their twilight years; i polished the wooden banister each week and washed the beautifully glazed vestibule door and step as well; i even polished the spectacular hall stand – delusions of grandeur i know but the most wondrous days of my life; the garden would have kept several donkeys and the cellar was a wine growers dream; i am mindful though of the shabby conditions people are all too often living in now but if i had the money id buy such a house and offer it up for a small rent myself

  2. Willie at 12:02 pm

    Having stayed in a bed sit in the early 70’s I can’t believe they have survived so long.

  3. Peter Gibbons at 12:19 pm

    There is nothing wrong with a high quality one bedroom apartment.
    (I detect The sheer greed of the building industry here.)

    It is the QUALITY which should be addressed.
    Not the NAME.

    A QUALITY bedsit can be perfect for students and singles wanting affordable living.

  4. chris at 12:17 pm

    Another piece of legislation that cannot be policed.Bedsits will survive out of necessity for them but conditions will get worse as landlords stop investing in their current ones and tenants will have no choice as they are the cheapest way to have your own place. We should have no more laws until we learn to police the ones we have. The honest bedsit owners will suffer and the chancers will get away with it. The people who do well in this country are the people who dont get caught.

  5. James at 6:15 am

    It’s a good idea to improve living conditions of our citizens. It’s an upgrade in civility and will improve the city in general. Just like we don’t let wrecks on the road, so it should be with housing standards. I would say it’s much better to introduce changes like this gradually. This could be done simply by saying that no new lets are allowed from 1st Feb. This allows existing tenancy agreements to continue. There could be a date maybe 5 years from now by which time existing bedsits would need to be upgraded.

  6. Tony at 3:08 pm

    Anyone who has seen the Prime Time special on the state of rental accomadation in Ireland and the truly awful conditions people are living in will not miss bedsits. A lot of these conditions came about beause of the neglect of the landlords and a lot of these were not cheap rents, everyone has a right to a decent standard of accomadation lets remember people were paying for these substandard hovels. I will not hold my breath waiting for the regulations to be enforced.

  7. Tammy at 2:52 pm

    So does this mean that houses set out in bedsits will now become what the British call “Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)” with not only shared bathroom/s but now with shared cooking facilities too.

  8. Ciaran at 2:50 pm

    The bedsit is going the way of the B&B and reflects our increasingly individualistic, non-sharing, society.

  9. Declan at 12:32 pm

    Crazy stupid decision by Government. Bedsits served a purpose and delivered to a sector that were happy with their bedsit and the rent they were charged.
    What now for these tenants, many of whom are elderly??

  10. Mary at 12:25 pm

    My sister has a big mortgage and lets 2 of the bed rooms to other girls. They all share kitchen facilities. Does this mean she can no longer do this.

  11. John at 11:12 am

    This is an absolutely ridiculous action by Government , and if I am not mistaken another initiative by the discredited Green party, oh how we are all paying for their term in office. This initiative should be resisted/ abolished, particularly at a time when people are most seeking affordable accommodation! Many bank distressed Landlords do not have the Capital to make the required changes! There should be no time for poor standard accommodation, but that goes for all types! Many students and rent allowance people are in this type of accommodation, are the Government going to provide an alternative, I think NOT! So here we go again, one quango creating a problem that another quango is unable to resolve.

  12. Michael at 11:02 am

    A lot of bedsits are currently found in old houses that were never designed to accomodate should facilities. A lot of the properties set out in bed sits are close to the city centre. If alot of landlords put their properties on the market then we could see first time buyers or young couples trading up getting good vlaue in fine properties. Yes there will be some work involved in converting them back into a single home. But it could lead to some love and care going back into some of these houses. In some cases these properties have had no investment in years as landlords tried to maximise returns. Areas in D1 and D& could see an upsurge of conversions that happened in Ranelagh and Rathmines for example in the 90’s and 00’s.

  13. Peadar MacMillan at 11:01 am

    Once again our politicians fumble in the art of bungling. It is all very well bringing these laws in but the whole system remains unregulated for the point of view of for example, Germany, where the local authorities set a maximum rent in an area relevant to the type of property.
    Young people are going to get exploited yet again by increasing rents as they are forced into this market as they can not get mortgages.
    The obvious solution is to complete the estates lying uncompleted and do a rent to buy so taking the steam out of the rental market, creating employment and ensuring high standards – do I need to go on with the details !!!!!!! Wakey wakey Government.

  14. lorelei cleaning at 10:57 am

    Its generally speaking a good thing and people should have their own sanitary and cooking facilities. As to independant heating what does that mean exactly? Does it mean that a landlord has to leave the main heating on all the time with tenants regulating their ownm areas? Does it mean that the main heating can be set to be on or set periods.
    Although I agree in principle with the provision of owm sanitary/cooking it appears as though there is (suprises, suprise) a lack of thought in the preparation. Where do all these people go in 7 days when they have to move ou? How is a landlord meant to pay imagine a house and theres lot of them with 5 bedsits the cost of meeting these new regulations could easily be € 20,000.00.
    Tenants presently living in bedsits are obviousle content if not happy with their present conditions could not this be phrased in over a long period eg new conversions, new tennants.

  15. mary barry at 10:53 am

    More and more BIG BROTHER is WATCHING you. How dare governments tell us how we should live.
    The joke is they have enough money to live as they like.
    I personally would not like to live in a bedsit but there are people who like to, or must live in bedsits.
    I get the feeling we am regressing as adults because we are being told constantly how to live.

  16. karl deeter at 10:48 am

    There is a perception that people are ‘forced’ to live in bedsits and that there is a big contingent of evil tenement landlords facilitating this. That standards are deplorable in some properties is a fact, but not one confined to these properties only because SI534 (the new law referred to) applies to all rented properties, not just bedsits.

    People who live in bedsits often make a trade off between price, location and privacy. They are also a popular form of accommodation with middle aged single people. Bedsits as one room with no toilet are gone, but the stock of building will remain and in many cases two outcomes are likely:

    1. landlords won’t comply and the lack of inspections (and slow sanction process) will mean they are able to do this for a long time.
    2. They remodel and bring them up to code, the requirements are not actually that onerous and it is only where you have lots of tiny units that this becomes difficult from a construction perspective.

    The tricky thing is perhaps the mismatch between this regulation, building regulations and landlord tenant regulation. You can’t rent a property out, but a person could have a part 4 tenancy right to be there so you can’t ask them to leave while you do some construction work etc. implementing this code will be a mess for some time.

  17. Paddy at 10:47 am

    To wish to retain bedsits is akin to reminiscing over the passing of polio, boils and rickets. The sooner we see an end to 3rd world bedsits the better. We are now in 21st century Ireland where there is no place for accommodation wherein tenant are obliged to share bathrooms and toilets with other tenants and their visitors. In my youth I spent 2-years in such an arrangement as nothing better was available in 1980s Ireland, but I would like to think we have by 2013 moved on to better days and higher standards.

  18. Brid Carroll at 10:45 am

    More of the Nanny State scenario.
    Why shouldn’t there be a choice of rental properties? At different prices for differing facilities all known by the tenant in advance.
    I think this new law is ridiculous and I am not involved in any way with the rental market.

  19. James Coyle at 10:42 am

    I doubt that the new Regulations will be enforced quickly from Feb 1 or thoroughly thereafter!

  20. DG at 10:40 am

    Anybody who has a knowledge and care for Dublin history will understand the importance of this regulation. We do not want to return to the days of 1 room tenament slums, and as house hold budgets become tighter and tighter and people are forced from their homes it creates an opportunity for landlords to minimise space and maximise profits. It may sound far fetched but there are families who are so stuck that they could end up renting bedsits.

    While there is a need for cheap budget accomodation for students and young people looking for somewhere to live, this should be regulated and set up in a way that is controlled by the government (decent ones), universities, and councils and not by the private market as is done in other European countries.

    And this whole idea as ‘a step onto the property market’, get real! Its phrases like that from the ‘Boom’ years that got so many people in trouble buying these tiny places which they are now stuck with.

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