Dublin City Council has delivered an emphatic ‘no’ to property owners seeking planning permission to change the use of their properties to Airbnb style lettings in the city centre.
This follows the Council refusing planning permission to Friends First Life Assurance DAC for the temporary use of six apartments at 43-44 Clarendon Street off Grafton Street for short term letting.
Friends First stated that it had discerned a demand for short-term letting of the apartments as the apartments are located in the heart of the city surrounded by hotels, cafes, restaurants and shopping streets.
However, the city council planner's report stated that planning permission would result “in an unwanted precedent for similar development in the area which may then result in the further unacceptable loss of long term residential rental properties in the locality”.
The Council’s planner’s report stated that there were “serious reservations” over the planning application.
The report stated that the need to balance the competing demands of the city centre is acknowledged, including the need to provide additional tourism accommodation, however the proposal “would result in existing residential stock being lost to the residential housing system, meaning less long-term and secure accommodation will be available to the growing number of families and people who need it”.
The planner’s report pointed out that the area is a rent pressure zone, where is there is high demand for long term residential rental properties.
The report stated that the loss of six apartments to short term letting is a concern due to the existing housing shortage currently experienced within Dublin City.
Consultants for Friends First stated that the Council had refused a previous change of use application for the apartments last November and the impetus for the fresh application is the lack of progression of regulation and policy around short-term letting.
The consultants stated that since 2016, there has not been a single planning permission for the change of use of apartments to short term letting in the city council area despite the rate of web and central hosted short term holiday lets exponentially increasing.
The consultants also argued that the proposed development is consistent with the delivery of overseeable, enforceable short term letting for visitors.
The consultants state that the proposal “simply seeks to regularise a use that has only relatively recently been identified by Government as a change of use in planning terms despite short term letting being already advertised and used”.
The consultants’ submission stated that “short term letting is a real tourism accommodation category that must be fulfilled for Dublin and Ireland to compete internationally”.
They argued in order to compete internationally "visitor accommodation should include apartment rentals at appropriate locations”.
Friends First now has the option of appealing the Council decision to An Bord Pleanála.