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Plan to bring 12,000 short-term lets back into rental market delayed by EU Commission decision

The legislation required cannot be enacted until the end of the year.

THE PLAN TO bring 12,000 short-term let properties back into long-term use is set to be delayed due a decision by the EU Commission. 

At the end of last year, a new short-term let register was approved by the government with expectations it could bring thousands of properties back into the market this year.

Under the plan, properties advertised for short-term letting via online platforms, such as Airbnb, will be obliged to have a valid registration number with Fáilte Ireland.

Any host offering accommodation for periods of up to and including 21 nights will need to be registered.

Property owners will have to register via the online portal, input their details and confirm they have planning permission, where applicable.

Before advertising properties, booking platforms will be obliged to only advertise properties with a valid Fáilte Ireland registration number.

EU Commission delay

The register was one of the pillars in the government’s action plan to increase housing supply, however, the Department of Tourism has now revealed it could be delayed to the end of the year. 

The bill, to allow for the new register, was submitted to the EU Commission on 21 December as required under an EU Directive. 

Such a notification triggers a standstill period of three months during which the proposed Bill cannot be enacted.

The Department received a communication from the EU Commission yesterday stating that the period is to be extended until 22 December 2023.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Tourism Department said it will now examine the communication from the EU Commission and engage with stakeholders on next steps.

“The Department will examine the communication from the EU Commission and that analysis will inform the timetable for enactment of the Short Term Tourist Letting Bill and the establishment of the Short Term Tourist Letting register.

“Queries relating to planning permission should be directed to the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage,” they said. 

The delay is a significant headache for the government who had hoped to the legislation  passed by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Significant pressure is mounting on government to rapidly increase supply with the eviction ban due to cease at the end of this month. 

Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien previously told The Journal that the regulations were taking longer than he would have liked. He said the new scheme fulfills a promise of Housing for All and that if successful, will be a long-term solution to the lack of long-term letting properties available. 

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