Airbnb presses O’Brien for ‘fair’ rental rules

Online booking platform Airbnb lobbied Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to introduce “fair and proportionate” regulations for the short-term rental industry.

He told the minister he sees himself as a mainstay of Ireland’s tourism sector, saying he will play a key role in the economic recovery from the pandemic.

However, Airbnb has already been criticized by the tourism industry at home and abroad, with companies complaining that the company competes unfairly with them because it is not subject to the same controls and regulations that they are subject to. have to face.

He has also been blamed for pushing up rents.

Regulations require people to apply for an exemption from their local authority if they rent rooms or rent their entire house less than 90 days a year, but opposition TDs have called for stricter enforcement to protect the market housing and rental.

In May, Airbnb’s public policy chief Jean Hoey wrote to Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien telling him the company wanted to discuss any future enforcement and regulations with him.

“Any post-pandemic reconstruction of the Irish economy will in part be achieved by rebuilding our tourism sector – and as such, it is vitally important to have an adequate supply of short-term housing available for the tourism, ”she wrote.

“As a key stakeholder, we are eager to work with you on the introduction of fair and proportionate short-term rental regulations and have had positive engagement with your department managers in this regard.

“Thanks to our community hosts, Airbnb looks forward to playing its part in helping restore Ireland’s national and regional tourism sector, and we look forward to continuing to engage with your managers in the weeks and months to come on all relevant topics. problems.”

Ms Hoey cited research from Oxford Economics assessing Airbnb’s impact on Dublin in 2019. She said Airbnb contributed € 321 million to the city’s overall economy and directly supported more 3,400 jobs. She said her guests supported nearly 3,000 jobs in restaurants, transportation, retail and entertainment.

This offers “significant hope for what the recovery might look like at the end of 2021 and in 2022 in the city and beyond,” she added.

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