Airbnb laws are being ignored, says TD

Just 3% of thousands of eligible Airbnb properties have registered under new rules or applied for special planning permission.

Airbnb laws are being ignored, says TD

Just 3% of thousands of eligible Airbnb properties have registered under new rules or applied for special planning permission.

Since July 1, -principal private homes used for short-term lets must apply for planning permission.

Figures obtained by the Irish Examiner show only 16 planning permission applications have been lodged for change-of-use on short-term lets in local authorities.

Furthermore, just three staff have been hired by councils across the country to crackdown on Airbnb lettings.

The revelations blow a hole in the Government’s attempt to tackle the overuse of short-term lets to try and alleviate the housing and rental crisis.

Fianna Fáil housing spokesman Darragh O’Brien, who obtained the details, said the laws must be reviewed and that property owners and letting firms are clearly ignoring the new rules.

“It’s clear that the laws in place since the summer are not being taken seriously by the Government,” he said.

“They have not provided any support to local authorities to implement the new rules. The result is that the laws are being flouted left, right, and centre.

Non-principal private homes used for short-term lettings are obliged to apply for planning permission. Principal primary residencies used for short-term lettings are subject to a 90-night limit and must notify the local authority.

Details for 18 councils where rent-pressure zones operate and the new letting laws apply reveal:

  • Only 16 planning applications filed for change of use across all councils — Dublin City (11), Galway City (4), and Limerick (1);
  • Just 401 notifications were received for private homes used for short-term lets — the majority in Dublin;
  • Not one notice was filed for Cork city or county despite almost 1,000 Airbnb units advertised on October 30;
  • Just four notices were filed for Galway city and county out of 1,632 Airbnb properties advertised;
  • There were just 304 notices for properties in Dublin out of 9,628 eligible Airbnb properties advertised;
  • In total, out of 14,300 eligible properties, only 401 notices were filed across all applicable council areas;
  • Councils asked for extra staff to enforce the rules — there are three staff in Dublin and no others none elsewhere;
  • There have been 162 complaints and 60 enforcement warnings over the rules nationally.

The shock figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Fianna Fáil, will throw into question Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy’s efforts to regulate short-term lets to free up long-term rental accommodation. The failed attempt comes after the most recent homelessness figures reached more than 10,000 for the eighth consecutive month.

Mr O’Brien wants the new laws reviewed and for councils to be funded so they can hire staff to oversee the Airbnb rules. Just three new staff have been hired to enforce the new rules and are all based in Dublin City.

While another 10 are in the process of being hired, there this is by no means enough to enforce the rules, argued Mr O’Brien, a Dublin Fingal TD.

“These rules are important in ensuring we keep units in the rental market, open up opportunities for first-time buyers, and protect communities from being transformed into holiday- home centres,” he said.

“The fanfare around announcements has not been followed up by actual implementation of the new laws.”

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