Local authorities tell Minister they need more money to enforce short-term letting laws

Local authorities tell Minister they need more money to enforce short-term letting laws

Local authorities have told the Minister for Housing that they will need more than €8 million to enforce new laws on short-term lettings.

Overall, some nineteen city and county councils have also requested more than 60 staff to implement the regulations, which came into effect on July 1, 2019.

The new rules require people renting out entire properties on a short-term basis for more than 90 days per year to seek planning permission from their local authority to do so.

The rules, which are applied in rent pressure zones, are designed to boost the volume of available housing stock amid suggestions that landlords were leaving the rental market to lease properties on a short-term basis via platforms like Airbnb.

In recent weeks, the Irish Examiner reported that Cork City Council had yet to receive a single application for planning permission, three months into the life-cycle of the new laws. There were 224 entire properties listed on Airbnb at the time which would require planning permission to operate under the new laws, according to InsideAirbnb.com, an independent project that analyses statistics from the Airbnb website.

Responding to a question from Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó'Broin, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said that existing structures are not sufficient in policing illegal short-term lets.

"In order for the new legislation to have the desired effect and achieve its objective of returning much-needed accommodation to the long-term rental market, it is essential that relevant planning authorities adopt a pro-active approach to enforcement," he said.

"This will add to the planning enforcement workload of the affected planning authorities, necessitating dedicated additional staffing and complementary resources."

The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government only reached out to planning authorities to seek "estimated resource funding requirements" on June 4, 2019, a month before the new regulations were due to come into effect.

Follow-up contact was made on July 2 and September 26 in the wake of the introduction of new rent pressure zones, which extended the application of the short-term letting provisions to these areas.

Additional resources sought "primarily comprise additional enforcement staff, but also include, inter alia, associated legal costs and IT costs".

Requests came from nineteen local authorities for a total of €8,004,643.98.

The largest sum was requested from Dublin City Council, which sought €1,810,592.33. Cork City Council asked for €346,100, while Cork County Council asked for €320,372.

Fingal County Council said it needed €615,337, while Galway County and Kildare County both asked for more than €500,000.

Three councils asked for between €400,000 and €500,000.

Resources have been allocated in Budget 2020 and the Housing Minister confirmed that he is engaging with the Department of Public Expenditure to ensure that local authorities will be able to claim back funds from later in this year until 2021.

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