Short-term letting dominating tourist towns, leaving people with nowhere to live

The system has been blasted as "upside-down".
Short-term letting dominating tourist towns, leaving people with nowhere to live

Kilkee is one of many coastal tourist towns affected by a lack in long-term rents.

A new approach is needed to regulate short-term letting, with tourist towns in particular struggling to sustain long-term rental properties.

The issue is evident in dozens of towns and villages throughout the country, with the number of properties listed for short-term rent far outstripping those available for long-term habitation.

The system has been blasted as "upside-down" by Cillian Murphy, a Fianna Fáil councillor with a background in tourism, who says towns such as his home of Kilkee are struggling.

As of Friday afternoon, there was one long-term property available to rent in Kilkee on the popular site, while there were 74 full homes for short term let across several platforms.

Mr Murphy said it is important to understand why people are leaving the long-term rental market for the short-term market and said he believes that it's largely economic.

“You can make as much in a week in Kilkee in July as you can make for a month if it were long term,” Mr Murphy said.

“But I do wonder if it is down to regulation. There is a lot of regulation in the long-term market, and non in the short-term,” he added.

Mr Murphy believes that more regulation could stem the flow of those changing from long term to short term renting.

One of the most popular short-term rental platforms is Airbnb. 

Derek Nolan, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Ireland, said they would welcome progress in regulation. 


The housing minister Darragh O'Brien recently conceded that current regulations requiring registration for properties leased out on a short-term basis over a certain period of time aren't working. He is exploring new ideas to clamp down on the issue.

“We welcome regulation and want to work together on rules, which is why we have had active discussions with the government on how to implement a registration system," Mr Nolan said.

He added that "this will help everyday families benefit from visitors to their communities while clamping down on speculators and bad actors".

The problem extends beyond Kilkee and Clare and impacts tourist towns across the country.

In Cobh, as of Friday, there were four properties advertised online for long-term rental and 31 for the short term. Kinsale had one long-term property advertised compared with 40 short-term lets.

In Kerry, Killarney had four long-term properties, versus 43 short term lets.

Killarney is also lacking in long-term rental options
Killarney is also lacking in long-term rental options

Meanwhile in Cahersiveen, there were no properties for let on a long-term basis, compared to 56 properties available for short-term rentals across various platforms.

Lisa O’Shea, a single mother from Cahersiveen, says she is facing homelessness in the coming weeks due to the fact her home has been sold, and there is no long-term rentals available in the area.

Ms O’Shea, who runs a business in the town, says she is aware the town is heavily reliant on the tourism industry, but a growth in the number of people visiting the town, and the fact the hotel accommodation is being used to home refugees, means more people than ever are looking for short-term rentals on homes.

“We have had two great years over Covid. A lot of Irish people have discovered South Kerry, and can’t wait to come back," she said.

"But there is currently nowhere to stay, which is going to further drive the number of Airbnbs."

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