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Stag and hen parties using short-term lets in Dublin are draining units off the rental market

Senator Kevin Humphreys says a growing number of apartment block dwellers are experiencing problems with units being let on renting websites such as AirBnb.

Image: Shutterstock/Axel Fischer

ACCORDING TO A report by the company itself, Airbnb hosts in Dublin made €52 million between them last year.

Although that’s a lot of extra income for the city, not everybody sees it as a good news story.

Yes, Revenue get the chunk it requires. And it definitely gives tourists more options in the capital.

But as the housing crisis puts more and more families at risk of homelessness, many are concerned about the possible negative effect short-term rental options offered by companies like Airbnb can have on the property market.

Sinn Féin’s Eoin Ó Broin is just one person who has argued against “full-time B&Bs” being established in the place of long-term tenancies.

Another Leinster House politician has recently raised another problem. According to Kevin Humphreys, stag and hen parties booking short-term accommodation in city centre apartment blocks are keeping local people awake and damaging communities.

The Labour senator says a growing number of apartment block dwellers are experiencing problems with units being let on renting websites.

Concerned apartment dweller 

He recently received a letter from a concerned constituent highlighting the issue of property owners opting for short-term over long-term lets.

“People who live in these apartment blocks full-time are seeing different people come and go every week,” he told TheJournal.ie.

With thousands of people looking for suitable accommodation and with rents on the rise, he echoed Ó Broin’s earlier statement that such arrangements are adding pressure to Ireland’s already stretched rental market.

In the letter to the senator, the homeowner wrote:

There has been a sudden upsurge in short-term letting in this and other centre city apartment blocks. This is undermining the quality of life for those who have made their home in centre city apartments.
One woman [living in the same apartment block] who is bringing up a young child has seen four apartments on her floor change over to short-term let.
Tenants vary of course, but stag and hen groups are common at weekends and this results in late night noise and anti social behaviour. The sense of community that was building is undermined and rents are being pushed upwards. This is forcing people who work in the city to seek accommodation in the suburbs, bad for them, bad for a living city and bad for the planet.

Short-term lets 

The person goes on to say they would like to see Ireland introduce legislation to control the use of short-term rentals, such as is seen in cities such as Berlin and New York.

“When laws were introduced in Berlin there was a 40% drop in short-term listings, with those properties returning for long-term lease,” he said.

Humphreys claims there are more than 6,700 apartments up for short-term rent, with 47% of those listed consistently (ie, not temporary arrangements when people are vacating their home or looking for short-term renters to fill a gap).

0E591807 Dublin listings on AirBnb Source: Kevin Humphreys

“The shifting of housing units into the tourist market and out of the long-term rental market has negative effects for everyone. Instead of building new hotels and revitalising areas with money from tourism, rental properties are being removed from the market and workers are suffering as a result,” Humphreys told TheJournal.ie. 

The Dublin politician said it is not just apartment blocks. In one busy Dublin location, planning permission was granted to build nine new residential units. However, of those nine houses, three are listed full-time on AirBnb, he claims.

“If we are leaking units at that rate from the market, we are going to see a growing problem for those who want to live, work and rent in the capital,” said Humphreys.

The issue we are facing is not that residents are renting out spare rooms, the issue is that people are purchasing properties with the purpose of continually leasing them on AirBnb as income properties. These are properties zoned for residential use and are being used for businesses. It takes whole properties out of the market at the expense of workers.

With the issue becoming more common, Humphreys states that some management companies have banned the use of AirBnb in their apartment blocks in Dublin.

Regulations 

Housing Minister Simon Coveney met with Airbnb bosses recently to discuss the role the company plays in Ireland’s rental market.

He wants to curtail property owners choosing to rent to guests for short stays rather than to long-term tenants.

The minister said he will be forced to introduce regulations for Airbnb if a memorandum of understanding cannot be reached with the company.

Carrying out some of his own research, the Labour senator said some landlords can see a return on 100% occupancy of their three-bed apartment in Dublin 2 on a short-term basis of over €100,000.

“It’s not surprising that some landlords are opting for this option when you look at the profits they can make,” he said.

I’m well aware that a choice has to be made by the government here. The choice needs to be – are we going to house working people or tourists in city centre apartments?

“Hotels should be for tourists, and houses should be for workers. We are currently facing housing a housing shortage, the brunt of which is being felt by the working class. We need to ensure that housing is affordable for those working in and around urban areas,” he concluded.

AirBnb was asked for comment, however, none was received at the time of publication. 

Read: Airbnb hosts in Dublin made €52 million last year>

Read: Coveney says he will regulate Airbnb if ‘satisfactory arrangement’ not reached over renting>

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