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'They have no place in our city': Take Back the City protesters occupy Airbnb HQ

TBTC claims Airbnb has exacerbated the housing crisis in Dublin and Ireland as a whole.

Activists at Airbnb HQ this afternoon
Activists at Airbnb HQ this afternoon
Image: Take Back The City/Facebook

Updated Oct 13th 2018, 4:57 PM

HOUSING ACTIVISTS UNDER the Take Back the City banner occupied the offices of Airbnb on Hanover Quay in Dublin’s Docklands for a period today.

“We are occupying the central atrium of this beautifully designed building in protest against Airbnb’s impact on the housing crisis in Ireland – and across the world,” protestors said in a statement. 

Take Back the City (TBTC), who has occupied a number of properties in Dublin’s north inner city and held rallies to protest the housing crisis, chose this weekend to protest as Airbnb HQ was open to the public as part of the of Open House Dublin festival. 

“Airbnb has exacerbated the housing crisis in Dublin and Ireland as a whole.

“A platform that markets convenience by ‘disruption’ has delivered nothing but chaos to the people of our city. They have no place in our city,” TBTC said. 

As part of today’s protest, TBTC has demanded:

  • All vacant land and property be taken by compulsory purchase order and put to social use as universal public housing.
  • All vacant land and property across the country be taken into public ownership and put to public and community use.
  • Tenant Security and Fair Rent: Ban all evictions, reduce and cap rent at 20% of the occupants’ income or at €300 per room per month.
  • A total ban on Airbnb and short-term letting platforms in the city

Impact of short-term lets 

It’s been suggested that one quick-fire way to get rental stock back to a functioning level is to encourage or force landlords using Airbnb to get back into the normal rental market.

As far back as 2014, there have been concerns about Airbnb and short-term lets impacting on the normal rental sector.

That year there were reports in the US that tenants were being evicted so landlords could use Airbnb. This was the same year the company announced that it was doubling its workforce in at their European HQ in Dublin.

Airbnb has previously said it welcomes talks on clear home sharing rules for Irish hosts. Earlier this summer and after almost two years of discussions, the company expressed concerns over the slow pace at which home sharing rules in Ireland are being developed.

In a statement this afternoon following the occupation, the company said that it provides “an economic lifeline” to many Irish people:

Airbnb is an economic lifeline for countless Irish families and we are proud to have partnered with Open House Dublin for many years to celebrate our creative community. We are disappointed that a small and peaceful demonstration has disrupted the activities. We thank local hosts for their hard work in showcasing the best of Irish creativity, and apologise to any attendees affected.

AirBnb said that the protest has now ended but that its offices will remain closed for the day and will not take part in the rest of the Open Homes event.

With reporting by Rónán Duffy

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