Airbnb caught off guard by introduction of short-term rental restrictions, match shows – The Irish Times
Home-sharing website Airbnb has expressed surprise and grave concern at the government’s decision to put in place stricter controls on short-term rentals, according to recently published private correspondence.
Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien announced plans over the summer to tighten regulatory controls on short-term rentals of non-primary private residences in areas of rent pressure, as short-term rentals term had reduced the availability of long-term rentals.
The aim of the measure was to encourage the release of longer-term housing in areas of the country experiencing severe housing shortages during the housing crisis.
Figures produced during the week of July when the government measure was announced showed there were just 342 properties to let in Dublin, according to the rental website. Daft.iewhile Airbnb had 376 “whole house” properties available for a month in the same area.
The announcement led an Airbnb lobbyist, Derek Nolan, the former Labor TD from Galway West, to send a forceful letter to the minister complaining about the lack of consultation with the company.
“I want to express my surprise and deep concern that this announcement was made without consultation and despite the fact that we have requested meetings with you and your department to discuss new rules for short-term rentals and how best to to frame them for all stakeholders, repeatedly,” Mr. Nolan told the minister
Airbnb’s public policy director for Ireland has expressed specific concerns about how the proposals would make it an offense for landlords and short-term rental websites such as Airbnb to advertise rentals. who do not have the required building permit.
Mr Nolan described the business as a ‘pillar of the Irish tourism industry and a proud corporate citizen here’, employing over 900 people in Ireland.
He told the minister that the company fully supports the government’s proposal to set up a single national register for short-term rentals in the tourism sector.
“It would be much more effective to follow through on this commitment, within the time frame originally suggested, rather than focusing on stopgap measures,” he said in the letter to Mr. O’Brien released by his department in under the Freedom of Information Act. .
“We understand that the principle of engagement is important to you and the government. We would appreciate that this principle applies to Airbnb’
— Derek Nolan, Airbnb Public Policy Director for Ireland
Mr Nolan shared financial information, previously given to the minister’s department, from economic research firm Oxford Economics which showed that Airbnb guests had spent around 774 million euros and directly supported more than 6,000 jobs across the country.
The letter shows the former politician was particularly unhappy with the lack of consultation with the company before the government announced the measures.
“We understand that the principle of engagement is important to you and the government. We would appreciate this principle applying to Airbnb,” he said.
In December, the government approved proposals that will require short-term rentals in towns and villages in areas of rental pressure to obtain special planning permission.
Under plans, the state will be able to impose fines of up to €5,000 on landlords and online platforms if they break new rules on short-term rentals.
Owners offering accommodation for periods up to and including 21 nights will need to be registered with Fáilte Ireland, the tourism agency.
Fáilte Ireland may impose fixed penalty notices of €300 on property owners who advertise their property without a valid registration number.