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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C

Short-term letting rules were 'destined to fail' after only 50 planning permissions granted

In total, there were 16,181 homes available to rent on Airbnb as of 21 December.

ONLY 50 SHORT-term let planning permissions have been granted by local authorities since new rules were introduced three years ago, despite over 16,000 properties listed on Airbnb.

According to new figures, while there have been over 142 planning applications submitted to local authorities for a ‘change of use’ to allow for short-term letting, only 50 of these have been granted.

The figures, revealed in a Parliamentary Question from Social Democrats Housing Spokesperson Cian O’Callaghan, show that there has been next to no engagement with short-term letting rules introduced by the Government in 2019.

Under these rules, home-sharing is only permitted when a house is a person’s primary residence within a designated rent pressure zone (RPZ).

For anyone with a second property seeking to let it on a short-term basis requires ‘change of use’ planning permission.

Currently, there are RPZ’s within 22 local authorities. This includes the four local authorities in Dublin.

Within those local authorities, there have been no applications submitted for a change of use planning permission within Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin Fingal and South Dublin councils.

In Dublin City Council, there have been 29 applications between 2019 and 2021, with no applications submitted so far in 2022.

Of these applications, only five have been granted.

As of 21 December, there are 16,181 homes available to rent on Airbnb across Ireland, according to data from Inside Airbnb.

Of these, 3,786 are available to rent in Dublin.

InsideAirbnb Inside Airbnb Properties available for short term let within Dublin Inside Airbnb

Speaking to The Journal, O’Callaghan said that this disparity shows how the legislation introduced in 2019 was “destined to fail”.

“The disparity between the number of properties that are legally operating as short-term lets and the number advertised on Airbnb highlights how these measures were designed to fail,” O’Callaghan said.

“While new measures to regulate short term lets are due to be introduced, it is critically important that these measures work to prevent an over-supply of short term lets which can lie empty for most of the year in areas with a high demand for housing.

“Regulating short term lets alone is not a sufficient response to the housing crisis of housing – however it can make a real difference to the supply of homes that are available for long term renting.”

It comes just weeks after the Government announced that it would be introducing a new short-term lets register, which is set to be run by Fáilte Ireland.

The proposals were brought to Cabinet by Tourism Minister Catherine Martin in early December, with short-term rental properties set to be required to have a valid registration number with Fáilte Ireland.

Under the regulations, any host offering accommodation for periods 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.

Fáilte Ireland will also be empowered to issue fines, with a €300 fixed payment notice for property owners if they advertise without a registration number.

The body will also have the option to bring the case to the district court where the maximum fine is up to €5,000. 

Government sources have said that previous attempts to regulate short-term lets were “onerous”, with inspections of planning permission being carried out by local authorities.

These changes aims to stop the issue at source – without planning permission for the property to be a short-term let, they will not be allocated a Fáilte Ireland number, and as a result, will not be allowed to advertise the property online. 

Additional reporting by Christina Finn

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