Extra charges set for Airbnb homes in clampdown on regulations

Landlords who rent out their properties on Airbnb face being hit with extra water, insurance, and commercial rates bill from July 1.

Extra charges set for Airbnb homes in clampdown on regulations

Landlords who rent out their properties on Airbnb face being hit with extra water, insurance, and commercial rates bill from July 1.

In a major clampdown on the regulations for short-term lettings, the new rules will also apply to so-called accidental landlords, despite concern from opposition parties that this would be unfair to those who found themselves in negative equity.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien had raised concern about the measures, which are designed to restrict the use of housing for short-term holiday lettings in an effort to increase the volume of available stock in the private market.

However, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy said exemptions for accidental landlords are not possible.

“Fianna Fáil are changing their tune on this,” said Mr Murphy. “We cannot have a twin-track system.

"We support home sharing but not turning long-term rentals into holiday rentals.”

Under amendments tabled by Mr Murphy at a committee yesterday, a person will still be able to let rooms in their own house or apartment year-round without planning permission as per existing planning exemptions. This includes B&Bs.

Landlords will also be able to rent out entire properties for up to 90 days per year, though they will be required to apply for commercial planning permission to do so.

If approved, lettings will not be permitted for longer than two weeks at a time and will be subject to rates and, potentially, extra insurance premiums.

In addition, water charges could also be applied, which would cost landlords a standing charge of €90 a year coupled with a €3.12 charge per 1,000 litres of water and wastewater utilised under a proposed charging system, it is understood.

Mr Murphy has indicated that in areas where there is a high demand for housing, there may be an effective ban on short-term lettings.

In major urban areas such as Cork, Dublin, and Galway, local authorities will be given powers to refuse planning permission for the properties to be let on a short-term basis.

The rules have been sharply criticised by Airbnb, which said homesharing did not cause the housing crisis and that claims the regulations were the solution were a “false promise”.

“Legitimising homesharing with rules for the long term is good news for hosts in principle, however, there is no clear rationale for the rules being proposed here,” Airbnb said in a statement.

“There is no data to support a 90-night restriction on primary residences, which are by definition people’s homes, and not available on the long-term rental market.

“Banning the use of secondary homes is also unlikely to significantly boost Ireland’s housing stock.

"This appears to be a cut and paste from regulations in other cities, without properly adapting them to the needs of Ireland’s residents and communities.”

Housing charity Threshold welcomed the efforts to regulate the short-term letting market.

The charity claims converting secondary homes into short-term holiday lettings has removed thousands of properties from the rental market.

“In an analysis of Airbnb data, we identified 5,762 Airbnb listings in Dublin alone; 41% of which were available as full-time holiday rentals,” said Threshold CEO John-Mark McCafferty.

He said 60% of all listings were for entire homes available to let, meaning 3,457 housing units were potentially removed from the capital’s housing stock on a permanent basis.

In one week, there were 2,452 Airbnb listings in Galway and 2,103 in Cork. Half of these were available as holiday rentals full-time.

“The number of people who can be accommodated in Airbnb properties far exceeds the current 10,264 homeless figure,” said Mr McCafferty.

“These new restrictions will release badly needed housing onto the market and we believe it can have a positive impact for those families who are currently experiencing homelessness.”

Additional reporting by Kevin O’Neill

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